The Oulu City Board approved the decision to establish the Oulu Cultural Foundation and appointed its board. The mission of the Oulu Cultural Foundation is to develop Oulu as cultural and event city, improve the prerequisites for operation of artists and the cultural industry, and participate in activities improving the cultural industry nationally and internationally. The Cultural Foundation is responsible for the implementation of Oulu2026, the European Capital of Culture.
The board will be chaired by Risto Ruohonen who has a master’s in political science, and Päivi Laajala, Mayor of Oulu, was appointed as the vice-chairperson. The following were named as board members: Dean of University of Arts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy, Emilie Gardberg, Chief Financial Officer of Osuuskauppa Arina, Reima Loukkola, Mayor of Kuhmo, Tytti Määttä, Rector of the University of Oulu, Jouko Niinimäki, Professor in Media Arts, Elena Näsänen, and Cay Sevón who has a doctorate in social sciences.
Risto Ruohonen was appointed as the chairperson of the Cultural Foundation. He has previously acted as the Director General at Finnish National Gallery, and as the Theatre and Administrative Director at the City Theatres of Helsinki and Lahti. He has had several international positions of responsibility. Ruohonen sees Oulu as a lively and active city. He awaits the beginning of the term positively and curiously, and sees big opportunities to the development of the region that are brought by the European Capital of Culture.
“European Capital of Culture title grants the permission to do things bigger and differently to before, and that requires courage. It is not just a year of showcasing art and culture, but multiple years of work that hopefully will create permanent impact.”
The Cultural Foundation Board will lead the administration and operations of the Foundation. The board’s first term lasts until the annual meeting in 2024.
Following the City Board’s decision, the Foundation will be registered, and it will begin its operations at the beginning of 2022, in accordance to the plans.