Photo: Marcela Cardenas
Fjord Tours Articles / 24 Jan 2020

Norwegian Arctic Art

It’s hard not to be inspired by the breathtaking landscape in Norway. This is especially the case in the arctic regions of Northern Norway where the scenery is particularly spellbinding. It should therefore come as no surprise that there is also a thriving art scene in the Northern country.

Perhaps one of the most unique parts of Norway is the Arctic. Norway’s Arctic consists of four separate regions: the northernmost area of mainland Norway, Svalbard, Bjørnøya or Bear Island and Jan Mayen. In addition to incredible local artists, many artists from other regions of the world also flock to the Arctic to experience nature and find inspiration.

If you are interested in exploring the arts scene on your next trip to Norway, there are a number of festivals, events, museums and galleries we recommend! Here are just a few.

Arctic Arts Festival Roger Hennum
Photo: Roger Hennum

The Arctic Arts Festival

The Arctic Arts Festival takes place in Harstad and has a tradition that dates back over fifty years. The festival was born thanks to journalist Jan Kr. Nilssen. In April of 1965, Jan called on the arts community and local government to join him for a meeting at the Grand Hotel in Harstad to discuss the idea of a Northern Norwegian music festival.

During the meeting, an interim board was selected and the first Arctic Arts Festival happened in June of 1965. The festival takes place over an entire week and celebrates Northern artists from all over the world. In addition to the festival, a conference also takes place. The Arctic Arts Summit aims to find ways to strengthen arts and culture in the North by encouraging circumpolar cooperation. The Summit helps promote collaborations amongst Northern artists and creative industries.

002930 Frank Andreassen Www.Nordnorge.Com
Photo: Frank Andreassen

Galleri Svalbard

You might not expect to find a world-class permanent collection of art in the middle of the Arctic. However, at Galleri Svalbard, you will find just that. From ancient maps to rare books, there is plenty for art lovers to see. The gallery also houses the works of Kåre Tveter. Tveter was a Norwegian painter born in 1922 who is known for his beautiful depictions of the nordic light. For those looking to explore the Arctic art scene, this gallery is worth a visit.

Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum Kim G. Skytte
Photo: Kim G. Skytte

Northern Norway Arts Museum

Located in Tromsø, the Northern Norway Arts Museum or the Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, is housed in a building built in 1917 that used to be a post office. The museum was established in 1985 and was named Museum of the Year in 2017. You’ll find something for everyone at the Northern Norway Arts Museum. The museum presents both Norwegian as well as international art from the 17th century up until present-day contemporary collections. You will find many different forms of art from paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, textiles, and ceramics.

For those who might be traveling throughout Norway’s Arctic, the museum also recently opened a satellite location in Longyearbyen called Kunsthall Svalbard. This satellite location places a special focus on engaging with children and youth in the Arctic. If you’re looking for a specific exhibition, be sure to check in advance to see what the museum has on.

The natural beauty of Northern Norway is undoubtedly inspiring. This is why, although it is remote, Norway’s Arctic is home to a number of incredible artists and inspiring art museums. We highly recommend immersing yourself in the work of local artists to enhance your travel experience and support the thriving Arctic art community. A great way to experience Norway arctic regions, is by traveling on the Northern Lights Chase in Tromsø.