Art Testers pilots a new operating model
Last year, the Art Testers cultural education program provided almost 130 000 art visits to the Finnish 8th graders and those 9th graders that were left without a visit last year due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic. This was a great result considering that the pandemic continued to cause a lot of cancellations and the national teacher’s strike closed down hundreds of schools during the busiest visit season of the spring semester.
This year, the program continues with a new operating model. For the first time in the history of the Art Testers program, the schools have had the chance to choose whether they want two regional art visits or one regional and one national visit – primarily to a national art institution in the capital area.
About 60% of schools located outside the capital area chose the model which includes both types of visit. This means that most of the schools in central and northern parts of the country are very eager to visit Helsinki even though it can mean quite long travel times and thus quite long school days for both the students and the teachers.
One of our main goals for next year is to develop the concept of the national visits so that especially the groups traveling from a longer distance could get the most out of the trip. This depends a lot on the budget of the schools as well as the interest and commitment level of their headmasters and teachers.
For many students, visiting a new town can be an adventure equally as valuable as the art experience itself. If the school’s budget allows extending the trip for a few hours, it might enable them to visit other attractions in Helsinki as well, like the Parliament House or the gorgeous Central Library Oodi. The Art Testers team wants to help in any way we can to make these kinds of arrangements possible. With some joint effort the art visit can be turned into a memorable school trip. It would be like hitting two birds with one stone, wouldn’t it!