Finlandia University and Mining Gazette report
HANCOCK — A recent donation to the Finlandia University Gallery will carry on the legacy and promotion of Finnish-American artists with the continuation of all operations and functions. The donor, who chose to remain anonymous at this time, was joined by an abundance of support from local community members.
“I am so thrilled to be able to continue providing contemporary art exhibits for our campus, community, and alumni,” Gallery Director Carrie Flaspohler said. “There has been an outpouring of affirmation from people that the gallery programming makes a real difference in their lives in terms of enrichment and community. This really motivated us to look for a path forward for the gallery to continue its good work.”
Flaspohler, who has been serving as gallery director for the past 20 years, has hosted over 50 Finnish artists and exhibitions.
“Contemporary art is a powerful agent in the search for understanding and in our individual growth. It demands that we thoughtfully question, that we open ourselves to new ideas, and that we strive to view the work through a multitude of perspectives and lenses. As gallery director and curator, my goal is to continue celebrating Finnish American, Finnish and a diverse line up of artists who will bring new perspectives to Finlandia. Let’s meet back in the gallery in 2023 and continue to be inspired by these talented artists!”
A leading exhibitor of Finnish and Finnish-American art nationwide, the Finlandia University Gallery offers educational resources for students, faculty, alumni, and the community and provides a gathering place for people to discuss and reflect upon art. Finlandia President Tim Pinnow was thrilled to share the news.
“I am absolutely thrilled that Finlandia’s Art Gallery will continue to provide a cultural resource for the Upper Peninsula,” Pinnow said. “To have a truly international gallery space here at Finlandia is an incredible benefit to our students, staff, and regional community and we hope it continues for years to come. The fact that a donor was willing to step forward with a substantial gift to underwrite the gallery is a testament to the importance and power of the arts in our lives. The arts help us contextualize our relationship to ourselves, others, and the world, and I would encourage everyone to spend some time in the gallery for those reasons.”
In October, Pinnow disclosed to Hancock City Council that adjusted university spending would force the gallery’s closing. Lower enrollment was to blame for a 12% budget cut.
“In the last few months, I was given a mandate by the Board of Trustees … we needed to restructure the university to its new reality, which is that it’s a smaller university than it was at its height and its peak,” Pinnow told council.
Pinnow said that closing the art gallery was the hardest cut.
“I was an artist and an actor … and so that personally has been the most painful one. It’s probably the most visible one for the community.”
The anonymous donation has made Finlandia gallery’s return to its mission possible.
Stay up-to-date on all Finlandia University Gallery happenings, including upcoming January exhibits at finlandia.edu/gallery.