In February and March all upper comprehensive schools in Finland will receive an invitation to enroll next year’s eight graders to the Taidetestaajat (’Art testers’)-project organised by Suomen Kulttuurirahasto and Svenska Kulturfonden (the Finnish Cultural Foundation and its Swedish-language counterpart). The objective of the project is to give all 60,000 eight graders of the school year 2017-2018 a chance to experience and evaluate art.
All eight graders in upper comprehensive schools in Finland will be given the opportunity to visit two cultural sites, one in their local region and one in the Greater Helsinki Area. The Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Svenska Kulturfonden will provide funds to cover the travel expenses and entrance fees of students and teachers alike. All schools will be invited to join in the project. Schools are asked to sign up before 15 March 2017.
The students will be traveling by trains, buses and, if necessary, by plane. Travel arrangements for long-distance train trips and journeys by plane will be taken care of by the travel agency CWT Finland, with whom the Finnish Cultural Foundation have signed a full service contract. The aim of the contract is to provide for easy and cost-efficient travel for children. The overall budget of the project for the years 2017-2020 is approximately 20 million euros, with travel expenses accounting for over half of the overall budget.
– It is a great honour to be a partner in the Cultural Foundation’s Taidetestaajat-project and to take care of travel arrangements related to the project. In terms of the number of passengers the project is exceptional in Finland. Our role is to act in the interests of the Cultural Foundation in travel arrangements: our experts at CWT are committed to finding the most suitable travel plans at the best possible price for each class taking part in the Taidetestaajat-project, says Jari Oinonen, who is the leader of CWT Nordic’s sales and marketing.
Over the three years of the project all eight graders in Finland – over 200,000 students and their teachers – will have a chance to participate. The Association of Finnish Children’s Cultural Centers and their nineteen regional coordinators will be responsible for the practical execution of the project.
– It is important to us that all eight graders will have a chance to take part which is why we are also taking into account the different needs that different students may have in order to participate. Annually, we coordinate some 120,000 visits to cultural sites, and act as the coordinator between schools and institutes of art, Anu-Maarit Moilanen, the head coordinator at the Association of Finnish Children’s Cultural Centers, comments.
In order to enrich the students’ art experience, they will be provided beforehand with information about the particular piece, exhibition or performance, as well as the artists behind it, and the particular art-form in general. At their destinations the students will have not only the chance to become familiar with art, but also with the process of making art, the day-to-day work of an artist, and what goes on behind the scenes before an exhibition or work of art is ready for display. After their visit the students are asked to provide comments and feedback of their experience through a browser-based evaluation tool developed specifically for the project.