An international art project – in a county museum?

The question is not so often outspoken, but it is there just the same: Why is Blekinge museum lead partner in an international art project ? There are many answers – the simplest is perhaps that it is actually included in Blekinge Museum’s responsibility to protect and present even contemporary art and also to maintain a Baltic profile. Already there Art Line beats two birds with one stone.

Art Line began in 2011. It feels like yesterday, but now that we are facing closure and summing it all up, we realize that so much has been accomplished. We have created a natural and highly appreciated cooperation between people and institutions on both sides of the Baltic Sea, a new infrastructure that was not there before. In addition, cooperation locally in each region , such as between institutions in Blekinge, has gotten better. The project includes no less than 14 partners, art museums, academia and a shipping company. Talk about broad variety!

In retrospect it was most certainly a wise decision when Blekinge museum dared to undertake the role as lead partner in this partly EU-funded project. The county museum could, without sacrificing its local soul, play a role in a larger region – in this case, parts of Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, Russia and Germany. The return of the input efforts was good. This was also observed by the European Commission which in 2013 appointed Art Line a flagship project within the EU.

Right now we are running the finishing stretch of Art Line. On March 31 this year the project comes to an end and in early February there was an eventful Final Conference in Gdansk. Documentation was offered in the form of a comprehensive catalogue, video and vivid artwork created within Art Lines frameworks. The catalog contains 260 pages with flashbacks of everything that happened in the past three years and is supplemented with an online catalog of films, lectures and more texts.

Although the Art Line project ends, Blekinge museum continues to have contacts with the other countries, not in the least Poland. In connection with the closing conference, the museum manager Marcus Sandekjer signed a document on cooperation between Blekinge museum and the National Museum in Gdansk. And there is a strong will in Blekinge to continue in the next programming period of the EU.

Ingemar Lönnbom, information manager Art Line

This blog post was originally published at the Sveriges museers website, January 2014, it has been translated and edited by the author.