Grab a cup of coffee and join us in Helsinki for an afternoon of blissful strolling and browsing at the best art galleries Helsinki has to offer.
“The best way to check out the contemporary art scene in Helsinki is simply to visit all its lovely galleries. Admission is always free of charge, and everyone is more than welcome to view their current exhibitions. The galleries also present the latest creations by a fantastic range of artists, so no two are alike!”
The city’s oldest active art gallery, Taidesalonki, is worth a visit even just for its interior. The space resembles a secret garden trapped in a time bubble located in the beginning of the leafy Bulevardi street. The gallery shows works from beloved Finnish artists as well as new makers. The focus is on painting.
Bulevardi 3 B, 4th floor
Helsinki Contemporary is a trendy gallery that focuses on young artists that you will find across the street from the Old Church Park. With its fresh exhibitions, the gallery has secured a spot on the city’s art scene – its vernissages attract hipsters both young and old.
Galerie Anhava showcases both conceptual and visual forms of expression, in one or two storeys depending on the exhibition. The gallery roots for modernism and minimalism, but also for new attitudes and fresh breezes in the arts world. There is a often a focus on Nordic artists. Painting, photography, sculpture, video, and installations from both well-known artists and newcomers.
Project room (FaFa) and Exhibition Laboratory (ExLab)
The best way to acquainted with new talents is to visit the gallery spaces of the Academy of Fine Arts. Students towards the end of their studies often hold their first solo exhibition at the Project Room. ExLab often shows curated exhibitions featuring works by students as well as by established artists. Kuvan Kevät is the annual MFA degree show, offering a whole array of works by graduate students every spring. ExLab also hosts open lectures and other events.
Situated alongside Hietalahti Market Square, this tiny gallery also focuses on young artists, while also hosting exhibitions by established stars from time to time. If you are looking to purchase some fresh art for yourself or as a gift, ArTag offers plenty of affordable options too.
Huuto and Rankka
Huuto is run by an independent artist collective and presents professional and highly skillful exhibitions by both new and established artists. The handsome gallery is situated in the former laboratory rooms of the Helsinki University of Technology on Eerikinkatu. At the same address you will find another gallery, Rankka, which presents exhibitions by creative fringe artists.
The gallery on Oksasenkatu focuses on carefully planned site-specific exhibitions: more often installations taking over the whole space rather than based on individual objects and works. The style of the gallery is subtle and quiet. This year’s theme is light. The artist-run gallery is situated beside the legendary artist restaurant Elite. A good tip is to combine taking in the Functionalist interior of the restaurant (and maybe even a meal) with a visit to the gallery. Oksasenkatu 11 also organises events.
While the Oksasenkatu art space is focused on small scale and light exhibitions, Forsblom offers a large scale and heavier feeling. The gallery’s selection includes both internationally acclaimed and Finnish artists, including early career talent. Most exhibitions are centred around painting and sculpture. The grandiose space at the corner of the Old Church Park is often divided into two distinct main exhibitions. In addition, there are sometimes minor exhibitions hosted in the smaller studio space.
Lönnrotinkatu 5 / Yrjönkatu 22
Heino presents often intriguing exhibitions, such as stunning paper art and compelling video installations. It’s also very quiet in the gallery, and you might find that you’re the only one there. Of course, there is video surveillance, so hands off the art!
Ama has flexible exhibition spaces that present a wide array of styles by both well-known and more marginal artists. You will find the gallery next door to the legendary Rikhardinkatu Library.