The Nordic Art School (NAS) is a two-year preparatory art school located in Kokkola, Finland. An NAS education provides students with the skills they need to pursue further education in the arts, crafts and design at art academies and universities. A third year of study is possible for students who wish to study in greater depth.
The two-year programme is built around two-week periods of instruction with guest teachers, coupled with committed studio practice. Students at NAS are expected to motivate themselves and keep up a fairly high working tempo. Courses are compulsory and taught mostly in English, but sometimes in Swedish and Finnish. All students have access to a personal studio space.
One of the driving forces behind the school’s founding, in 1984, was Tage Martin Hörling, a renowned figure in the Nordic art scene at the time. Hörling envisioned a preparatory school that would provide as broad and varied an art education as possible. The guest-teacher system, a relatively new idea at the time, soon gave NAS a reputation as an outstanding institution whose students went on to pursue further education in high numbers.
The school has since remained a fixture in the Nordic art world, attracting most of its students and teachers from the Nordic countries. A curriculum that originally covered traditional art subjects - drawing, painting, sculpture and print making, with an emphasis on life drawing – has evolved over the years to embrace developments in new media and the art world. In addition to traditional art subjects, NAS students now study, for example, installation, video and performance art.
The school’s status as an independent institution guarantees a learning experience that is characterized by flexibility and versatility, yet depth. The curriculum is entirely art-based: NAS students study nothing but art. The guest-teacher system, in which a series of visiting instructors teach for two-week periods, ensures students are exposed to the widest possible range of artistic perspectives. Because the teachers are themselves practicing artists, students are granted an up-close look into the art world and the workings within it.
A selection of teachers from over the years:
Jaakko Niemelä (FI), Halldor Ulfarsson (IS), Markus Kåhre (FI), Roi Vaara (FI), Lisa W Carlson (SE), Jyrkki Riekki (FI), Harri Monni(SE/FI), Anders Tomren (NO), Gun Holmström (FI), Serena Giordano (IT), Tiina Heiska (FI), Kristina Müntzing (SE), Petri Hytönen (FI), Karin Laaja (SE), Tea Mäkipää (FI), Hanne Ravn Hermansen (DK), Mikael Åberg (SE), Hannu Väisänen (FI), Simon Goldin (SE), Jakob Senneby (SE), Tiina Mielonen (FI), Jukka Korkeila (FI), Klara Kristalova (SE), Anne Rolfsen (NO), Rebecca Burkhalter (SE), Stefan Bremer (FI), Arni Gudmundsson (IS), Johan Gustavsson (HOL/SE), Hilmar Fredriksen (NO), Irma Optimist (FI), Jan-Kenneth Weckman (FI), Charlotte Wallentin (SE), Ásdis Gunnarsdottir (IS), Anna Retulainen (FI), Marko Vukola (FI), Claus Carstensen (DK), Stig Arne Vaara (NO), Hanne Ivars (FI), Susanna Slöör (SE), Pia Lindman (FI), Anna Carlsson (SE), Eeva-Leena Eklund (FI), Irina Zatulowskava (RU), Teemu Mäki (FI), Karin Mamma Andersson (SE), Jan-Erik Andersson (FI), Ernst Billgren (SE), Pekka Nevalainen (FI), Nina Roos (FI), Caroline Pipping (SE), Tom Sandqvist (SE), Robert Lucander (FI), Denise Ziegler (FI), Jan-Erik Lundström (SE), Janne Räisänen (FI), Ann Edholm (SE), Outi Heiskanen (FI), Sigurdur Gudmundsson (IS), Silja Rantanen(FI), Sven-Olof Wallenstein (SE), Gertrud Sandqvist (SE), Mika Hannula (FI), Mårten Castenfors (SE), Peter Köhler (SE), ......
Directors and Head Teachers:
Tage Martin Hörling, Director 1984 – 1987
Jim Wichmann, Head Teacher 1985 – 1987
Fritz-Olle Slotte, Director 1987
Håkan Carlsson, Head Teacher 1987 – 1992
Sakari Alanen, Director 1988 - 1990
Fritz-Olle Slotte, Director (part time) 1988 – 1992
Örjan Wallert, Director of Studies 1992 – 2006
Susann Brännström, Head Teacher 1992 – 2006
Jaana Erkkilä, Director of Studies 2006 – 2009
Thomas Zornat, Head Teacher 2007 - 2009
Jukka Vikberg, Director of Studies 2009 – 2010
Annika Bergvik Forsander, Head Teacher 2010 –
Niklas Mulari, Artistic Director 2011