About North Norwegian Art Centre

North Norwegian Art Centre is Northern Norway's regional center for contemporary art. Our aim is to create interest for art and arts and crafts in the region through a regional and international orientation.

In Svolvær, North Norwegian Art Centre works with an ongoing exhibition program and sales of arts and crafts from the region. The Centre runs Kunstnerhuset Svolvær, a residency house for artists located on the island of Svinøya. Every other year North Norwegian Art Centre organises Lofoten International Art Festival – LIAF.

North Norwegian Art Centre, founded by the region's artist associations, is a key player in North Norwegian art life and a professional resource for artists, our audiences, public and private organisations. North Norwegian Art Centre is part of the Northern Norwegian Cultural Agreement.

Photo Kjell Ove Storvik

History of the North Norwegian Art Centre

North Norwegian Art Centre was established in 1979 by Nord Norske Bildende Kunstnere and Norske Kunsthåndverkere Nord-Norge.

Between 1995 and 2015, the arts centre had nodal institution status for the region. Organisations with nodal status had a regional and local mission with a national cultural responsibility within their genre. In 2009, the Lofoten International Art Festival – LIAF was placed under the North Norwegian Arts Centre. The festival, which was established in 1991, is the contemporary art festival with the longest presence in Scandinavia. In the same year, 2009, the centre's gallery and administration moved from Svinøya to the centre of Svolvær to be co-located with Lofoten Kulturhus.

In 2012, the North Norwegian Arts Centre took over responsibility for Kunstnerhuset Svolvær. The artist guesthouse has a long history. In 1934, the Swedish artist Anna Boberg donated her Boberghytta on Kjeøya at the entrance to Svolvær harbour to the Association of Visual Artists. It was to be used to accommodate visiting Norwegian and Swedish painters. The house was demolished during the war. Kunstnerhuset, which is now centrally located on Svinøya, was built in 1952 by Konstnärernas Riksorganisation i Sverige (KRO) and Bildende Kunstneres Styre i Norge (BKS) with support from the Fund for Norwegian-Swedish Cooperation.

The Arts Council, Nordland County Council, Finnmark County Council, Troms County Council and Vågan Municipality are the centre's most important clients and grant partners. The North Norwegian Arts Centre is part of the North Norwegian Cultural Agreement, a cooperation agreement between the North Norwegian counties. The conditions for operating grants are set out in annual letters of commitment, the Arts Council's guidelines for Organiser Support for Visual Art and the counties' Strategy for Visual Art in Northern Norway.