The new museum will house art experiences of the highest calibre – and much more.
It will be a museum that reflects society while it also helps develop it; a museum brimming with life, both indoors and outdoors; a museum for adults as well as one for children; and a museum for art lovers and for those who don’t really understand art – and for everyone in between.
A museum that welcomes everyone and is a key part of a strong and vibrant Kristiansand – this is the vision which made Reidar Fuglestad take on the job as Managing Director of Kunstsilo in 2017.
“We want a more attractive city centre, and the entire region will be enhanced through greater use of the arts. It is an important driver in making people settle here, creating jobs and attracting tourists. This museum will make it even more desirable to live in this region or visit it,” says Reidar.
He works for a museum that will be relevant to the people who live here, which means that everything contained within it must provide a picture of the world we live in.
“International surveys show that people trust the information provided by museums. They communicate truth and reality. We want to use this arena to raise questions regarding justice, freedom of speech, democracy, tolerance and diversity,” he says.
Centred around the Tangen Collection, Kunstsilo will be able to present exhibitions of the very highest quality. However, Reidar does not only want to aim high, he also wants to reach a wide range of people. With its proximity to the Kilden Theatre and Concert House, the Kristiansand School of Visual and Performing Arts and the Vest-Agder Museum, Kunstsilo enjoys unique opportunities for bridge-building.
“An experience of art can be so much more than standing in a room and looking at a picture,” says Reidar, pointing out one of many important areas: digital art. Sørlandets Kunstmuseum has already had digital exhibitions that have attracted new visitor groups, and the museum has also been involved in the development of “Palmesus Classics” – a concert production where pop musicians and a symphony orchestra interact with visual art. This is a new and powerful type of experience for all participants – not least the audience.
In addition to this, parts of the museum’s own collections will be digitised. This will allow for an entirely different understanding of classic works of art.
“This is a new and very exciting way of sharing our collection, and we are testing out various opportunities in this area. It is all about expanding the concept of art, and thus the ways one can experience art,” he says.
Reidar explains that the museum is committed to reaching everyone. Kunstsilo also has ambitions to help create a sense of belonging for those who feel marginalised in society.
“Our task is to communicate art to a wide range of people in this region, including children, young people and those unable to pay for a ticket. We will have special offers, educational opportunities and activities that include everyone. We’d like to cooperate with institutions that are already running positive activities, such as Blue Cross Norway’s Children’s Station,” he says.
He wants the museum to communicate art in such a way that everyone can enjoy it.
“There is a great deal of history and culture in art. Kunstsilo is to become a place where the entire family can come, and everyone will find something that interests them here. To make that happen we need to communicate in different ways with different groups, and that includes those who feel they don’t understand art. We must craft how we communicate so that we speak to everyone,” Reidar explains.
Kunstsilo is meant to be not only spectacular, but also inviting – exclusive, but with a low threshold for entering and enjoying it. There will be no big staircase on the way in, and no heavy, imposing doors. On the ground floor the entire facade will be made of glass, with a natural corridor running through the building where people may sit and work or read. Outside the building people can spend time with their friends, eat at the café, or just sit on a bench and enjoy the lovely surroundings.
Around 200 events will take place inside the silo every year – literary symposiums, lectures, concerts, and discussions. The building and the area will always be vibrant.
“People can come here and be guaranteed to find something of interest. There will be things taking place all the time,” says Reidar.
Reidar underlines the importance of working with good partners in such a large and wide-ranging project.
“Kunstsilo would have been impossible to realise without robust public/private cooperation. Many parties have gotten involved, and we are grateful for every contribution,” he says.
The following is a list of Kunstsilo’s main contributors that includes an overview of the total financing package:
The Norwegian Ministry of Culture: NOK 175 million
The AKO Foundation: NOK 210 million
Cultiva: NOK 100 million
Loan: NOK 80 million
The City of Kristiansand: NOK 50 million
Sale of existing premises: NOK 35 million (valuation)
Private parties, sponsors (Sparebanken Sør, Sparebankstiftelsen Sparebanken Sør, etc.): NOK 30 million
Vest-Agder County Council: NOK 25 million
Aust-Agder County Council: NOK 5 million
Total financing = NOK 710 million
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