Open Call for the ARToulu art area

ARToulu art area


A new ARToulu art area is coming to Oulu as part of the European Capital of Culture Year 2026.

Art will be brought to residential areas, to nature and close to the people, as part of a living urban culture. Art will introduce elements of surprise, by standing in unexpected places. What will we see and experience during the Capital of Culture year? In April 2024, an open call for art, for the art area, will open. The call is for visual art professionals living and working in Finland, including artists in residence from other areas of Europe. Please read application instructions from this page >

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Open Call for the ARToulu art area, for artwork by professional artists – art in public space in Oulu, the European Capital of Culture for the year 2026

The European Capital Cultural 2026 brings us Oulu’s new ARToulu art area, where art will pop up and surprise you in unexpected places. Dozens of installed artworks will change the face of the Oulujoki estuary’s seven city neighborhoods, turning them into interesting and distinctive art areas. Some of the artwork will permanently remain part of the cultural landscape and the art area will continue to evolve even after the European Capital Cultural year. The artwork for the ARToulu art area will be chosen through an open call for professional visual artists. This call is open to all professional artists living and working in Finland, as well as to artists in residency, particularly visiting from European countries. The deadline for the open call is August 12th, 2024. Read more about the open call >

The art area hopes to reflect the multiplicity of the visual arts. The selection process will focus on the originality of the artwork and on the creativity of how the artwork is integrated into its environment, including elements of surprise. Art area is curated by Satu Oksanen, Anna Ruth and Leevi Lehtinen.

Application Clinic June 3rd and 4th. Read more >


What is the art area?


Along the Oulujoki river is a popular walking and biking path, along the archipelago route, from the city center to the Nallikari seashore, and back along the opposite side of the river.  The ARToulu art area is formed by seven city neighborhoods along the river’s estuary. The areas stretch from the city center to Pikisaari, Hietasaari, Toppilansaari, Toppilansalmi, Meri-Toppila and Tuira.

Art will be brought to nature and residential areas – close to the people as part of a living urban culture. Art will pop out and surprise us in unexpected places, making our daily environment interesting and extraordinary as we let art sprawl out in urban spaces.  We plan on installing dozens of artwork in the neighborhoods along the Oulujoki estuary in a distinctive art area.

The art area artwork will be shown for the duration of its individual lifespan, and hopefully some of the art will continue to delight the residents and visitors even after the European Capital of Culture year. We hope that the neighborhood residents will embrace the artwork as their own and that visitors from afar find joy in coming to look for art and happening upon it unexpectedly.  The art area will be accessible 24/7 and throughout all the seasons by environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

The artwork for the art area will be announced in 2026. These pieces will be selected through an open call geared towards professionals of visual arts. The selection committee will pay special attention to the originality and surprise quality of the proposed artwork particularly regarding the way that it will be integrated into its environment. The art area should reflect the multiplicity of the visual arts and challenge the notions of art in public spaces. The art area residents will participate in and influence some of the artwork.

Information about the evolution of this project can be anticipated this year and the next. Those interested in the project should follow the ARToulu art area social media accounts and website for updates.

The ARToulu art area is part of the European Capital of Culture 2026 programme. The Oulu Artists Association’s Exploring ART project is financed by the Oulu Cultural Foundation, the Ministry of Education and Culture as well as the Oulu Artists Association.


Open Call


The European Capital Cultural 2026 brings us Oulu’s new ARToulu art area, where art will pop up and surprise you in unexpected places. Dozens of installed artworks will change the face of the Oulujoki estuary’s seven city neighborhoods, turning them into interesting and distinctive art areas. Some of the artwork will permanently remain part of the cultural landscape and the art area will continue to evolve even after the European Capital Cultural year.  The artwork for the ARToulu art area will be chosen through an open call for professional visual artists. This call is open to all professional artists living and working in Finland, as well as to artists in residency, particularly visiting from European countries. The deadline for the open call is August 12th, 2024.

Read more: Open Call, instructions for artists >


  • ARToulu-taidealueen mustavalkoinen
  • Oulun Taiteilijaseuran logo
  • Oulu2026, logo
  • Opetus ja kulttuuriministeriön logo
  • Taike, logo

Oulu is the European Capital of Culture for the year 2026. Oulu and the entire northern Finland will be filled with culture, art, and events in the coming years. Northern Finland will rise to the world map in an unprecedented way as Finnish and international cultural experts create something new in cities, countryside, and nature. It is a journey spanning several years, culminating in the year 2026. Exploring ART is part of the Oulu2026 cultural program and cultural climate change.