ITE art surveys

What are ITE Art surveys?

The works of art created by Ilmari Salminen, discovered in an ITE art survey in Central Finland, have captivated exhibition audiences in Finland and across the world. The artist’s works have also been stored in collections. Image: Veli Granö.

ITE surveys are a unique way to record cultural heritage

We carry out surveys in provinces to find and record visual folk creativity and original expression by our contemporaries. We also exhibit the outcomes of our surveys in various ways.

The stately concrete statues by Jurva-based Olavi Laiho were discovered in the surveys of ITE art carried out in Ostrobothnia. The artist’s works have been exhibited in both Finland and Germany. Image: Aki Paavola.

Tips, documentation, archiving and presentations

The Association for Rural Culture and Education has surveyed ITE art in different parts of Finland, province by province, since the late 1990s. Almost the entire country has been surveyed. In their longevity, the Association’s efforts to survey and record visual contemporary folk art are unique. The work has mainly been funded by EU grants for rural development. Interest in ITE art has grown steadily over the past two decades.

Our surveys gather tips about original self-taught contemporary folk artists from local residents. The artists are interviewed and their works documented. Key material is then archived. Artists and their works are presented in videos and publications, and material is also provided to the media.

We make use of the information in exhibitions and arrange it in collaboration with museums in Finland and overseas. Several museums and curators have produced exhibitions with the help of data and works of art that we have collected. We share information about ITE art sites that are open to the public with the tourism industry and on various digital platforms.

Alpo’s Savannah in Kauhajoki, created by Alpo Koivumäki, is one of the best-known ITE art environments in Finland. Pictured are Koivumäki and Elephant birds. Image: Veli Granö.

Interest in ITE art has grown steadily over the past two decades.

Mauri Rönni, Kalajoki, The grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Image: Sanni Seppo.
Väinö Oja, angel sculptures in the artist’s garden in Paimio.
Image: Liisa Heikkilä-Palo.
Ritva Nurmi’s mermaid, Navettagalleria in Mikkeli. Image: Kimmo Heikkilä.

Comprehensive, nationwide work for searching and presenting contemporary folk art, is an expectional effort by the Association for Rural Culture and Education.

Contact the Association’s arts team

We provide information about current and completed ITE art surveys. Contact us if you need information about how the information gathered in the surveys can be used through our ‘Collecte’ database, by borrowing works from our ITE Art Collection and in joint projects for exhibitions and events. We also work with the media and help journalists contact ITE artists.