AREFS taide ja kulttuuri ry
AREFS art and culture association

  • Savon Radan ryhmä organizes activities along the historical Savo line


The board of AREFS taide ja kulttuuri ry in 2014
Matti Karttunen - chairman
Jukka Tikka - vice chairman
Juhani Palonen - secretary
Lucien den Arend - vice-secretary
Marja de Jong - treasurer

During 2014 AREFS was operating at the old railway station of Hiirola.

In 2014 AREFS has been active in the field of art education (Haukivuori, Hiirola, Rämälä), the 125 years celebration of the SAVO rail and involved in the local community of Hiirola. These activities are important for strengthening the cultural awareness of the rural habitat in the region of Mikkeli.

Activities and programs


This art education program with children and parents at the schools of Haukivuori, Hiirola and Rämälä started in spring 2013 and ending in spring 2014.

class 3 and 4 of Hiirola and Rämälä visiting exhibition Animals Mikkeli Museum

children visiting exhibition ANIMALS in art museum Mikkeli

In spring 2013 AREFS has been awarded by Etelä-Savon Kulttuurirahasto with a grant of 8000 EURO for the art project TÄMÄ ON MINUN TAKAPIHANI - THIS IS MY BACKYARD. In April 2014 this program has ended.
Different groups of the participating schools have been at the inspiring exhibition ANIMALS in the Art Museum of Mikkeli. Children were introduced to imagine how the animals at the paintings, drawings and etches behave, sound, and even think. This reflection goes further than telling about the paintings and their painters. It demands a active attitude and experimental mind. On two papers the children connected details with the paintings and created new images out of a partly printed painting.

art works at Haukivuori and Hiirola schools

Different subjects to invite children to reflect on their environment

During winter and spring series of workshops have been arranged in the schools of Haukivuori, Hiirola and Rämälä.

The complete overview of this program can be read in the report THIS IS MY BACKYARD.PDF

b. SAVON-RADAN ryhmä

Savon-Radan ryhmä logo yellow

In 2013 AREFS taide ja kulttuuri ry has started to participate in the annual celebration of the SAVON-RATA by having open doors at the railway station in Hiirola.
In 2014 AREFS started cooperation with SAVON-RADAN ryhmä. This is a collaboration group of railway stations along the railway in Etelä-Savo. The group has started their collaboration in 2013 to give attention to the heritage of old railway stations and to use its meaning as a source for innovative cultural and economic development in the field of art, technology, design and tourism and all what is related to these fields.

The SAVON-RADAN ryhmä is looking for local, regional and international collaboration to share their knowledge and experiences, and to exchange their expertise. This will contribute to challenge new conditions for living and working in the countryside.

The group is working together in different compositions, depending on the goal and the needed expertise.

SAVON_RADAN ryhmä has the intention to inform a wide audience about the status and development of the railway stations along the Savo-rail through publication on the internet.
On the website of AREFS a special part is created for this initiative.
- See more at:

c. Hiirola community program SAVON RATA 125 years

children painting about the railway
Children of Hiirola school painting about the railway. Left 0 class, center 2nd class, right 3rd class.

In 2014 the SAVO-rail has its 125 year anniversary. This memorable moment has been celebrated on October 4th at different locations.
AREFS has been awarded by the regional Arts Promotion Centre with 2000€ to organize different activities in the village the celebration concerning.
Children were painting about the railway and writing about imagining to be 10 years old in 1889. The works show a high intensity of involvement and new ideas how to visualize the subject.

Children have been creating different works together. The younger ones the installation GOODBYE and the older ones a long train. Both installations were installed at the yard of the railway station.
a long train painted by children class 3 and 4, and class 5 and 6 Rämälä school

a long train painted by children of the 3/4th class and the 5/6 class of Rämälä school.

A complete review on this community program can be seen the pdf file SAVON-RADAN paiva report.

d. closing school Hiirola

In 2014 Mikkeli city decided to close the school in Hiirola. The protest by parents and other villagers was ignored by the council and the children are placed at the school in Rämälä.
During the last month of the school year 2013-2014 all children of both schools have painted them selves to send their image to some one at the other school.
This can make a difference in bringing together two groups of children.

all children of the school in Hiirola

all children of the school in Rämälä

making a row together - paintings by all classes (0 to 6) of the schools in Hiirola (top) and Rämälä (bottom)

To see the process by the children at the school in Hiirola see the web page
To see the process by the children at the school in Rämälä see the web page

e. international cooperation


Lauren Hinchman and Nikki Gamrath of the Principia College (education department) were visiting AREFS to discuss the possibilities of a program for education students.
It is the planning that a group of 18 education students from Principia College Illinois USA will spend eight weeks in Finland in March and April 2016.
The purpose of the program is to get to know the Finnish education system and the cultural background. Lauren and Nikki emphasized sustainable work and place based arts/ sense of place in arts. Finland is interesting as a destination because of our close relationship with the nature. Lauren and Nikki are also interested in the contrast of the rural and urban environments and how people relate to nature. The main focus of the program will be how artists can collaborate with schools and work with school children.
The group will stay for one or two weeks in Etelä-Savo and a program will be made by AREFS, Etelä-Savo Arts Promotion Centre in cooperation with the school in Rämälä, different artists and art organizations in Mikkeli and Savonlinna.


A group of 4 Portuguese teachers (3 kindergarten teachers and 1 primary school), which are working at “D. Lourenço Vicente” School Grouping- in Lourinhã-Portugal are planning a visit to our region is looking for professional expertise and practice in the field of art education .
(to enlarge the artistic skills of art teachers in relation to art education).
The planning for their stay is 2-9 May 2015.


A group of artists from Lithuania is interested in the activities of galleries, art centers and artists from other countries. They expect to find some relations for cooperation. I would like to know what possibilities and conditions are to organize an exhibition in our region. AREFS is looking for possibilities to invite this group to Mikkeli to make an exhibition, have meetings with artists and art organizations.


With the Swedish organization ART&TECHNOLOGY AREFS is building on a Finnish contribution for international artists to participate in this program.


With the Wanha Koulu Vehmaskylä AREFS is working on a program for art, culture and nature in rural Finland. The first activities have taken place in summer 2014.


From the beginning AREFS collaborates with the Dutch foundation in the field of art education and publications in this field.
Both organizations are interested in developing new ways in embedding art and culture in the school curriculum. Through an exchange of expertise and views they are able to offer interesting and inviting programs for artists, art teachers and teachers of elementary school and free time programs.


The international museum of child art in Oslo has selected some art works from the collection to use in their publication about "Daddy World Wide".

f. lasten maaseutu - children countryside art program - magic of nature

children countryside art program the magic of nature

During one week in August 2014 a group of Russian youngsters worked in Wanha Koulu Vehmaskylä

In the field of art and culture programs Wanha Koulu in Vehmaskylä is a partner of AREFS. At this location groups are able to stay and have workshops, lectures, etc art, nature and culture concerning. During August 2014 a group of Russian youngsters participated in a youth art camp in which art, nature and language were combined.

More about this program on the web page lasten maaseutu - children countryside

g. THE NEXT STATION artist-in-residence program

train wagon at the yard of Hiirola station

In spring 2014 an old train wagon is placed in the yard of the railway station. It is the intention to change it into a space in which an artist can stay for a short period.
The wagon needs to be repaired and transformed during 2015.
The wagon is an E-type wagon from 1927. This short version (12-13 meters) was in use until 1970. The wagon of Hiirola is half of the original one and has a balcony.
During the event on October 4rth visitors were very interested in this object and the future plans of it.

h. ART & TECHNOLOGY - collaboration program

Art and Technology AiR cooperation with Sweden

Art and Technology AiR cooperation with Sweden

The development of the Swedish art program Art & Technology is going very well. The participating of AREFS in this program is still in progress. The association is looking for partners in the Mikkeli region to join the

i. celebration 125 year SAVON-RATA

art and installation at the event in Hiirola

On the yard of Hiirola station different art works and installations were placed.
Left installation 'goodbye' by children, 2nd left portraits by Iranian artists Behrouz Rae and Fereshte Moosavi, 2nd right secret garden by Mariëtte Cordes, the Netherlands, right installation suitcases children Hiirola and dog by Yildiz Guner, Turkey.

celebration at Hiirola station

on October 4 2014 over 200 people were visiting the event at Hiirola station

This year the railway station of Hiirola has been part of the annual railway event at the first Saturday in October. On that day an old train drives between Haukivuori and Ottava and stops in Hiirola too. This year it was possible to combine this event with open doors in the station and through public information over 30 persons from Hiirola were attending the event.
Next year the Savo track will celebrate its 125st anniversary and different stations will be involved in its celebration.

A complete review on this community event can be seen the pdf file SAVON-RADAN paiva report.

j. other activities

In May all the participants of the art education program TÄMÄ ON MINUN TAKAPIHANI - THIS IS MY BACKYARD received a certificate of AREFS.
As the school in Hiirola is closed in June children at the school in Hiirola received the book TÄMÄ ON MEIDÄN LUONTOMME - THIS IS OUR NATURE with their name in it.

It was not possible to organize an atelier route during summer 2014.

k. planning publication THIS IS MY BACKYARD

As the applications AREFS has made in 2013 and 2014 have not been awarded it was not possible yet to start with editing of this publication by lack of financial possibilities.
In 2015 AREFS will start new applications for this purpose.

l. promotion

banners for railway stations in 2014

promotion material during 2014 -banners on fabric

postcards 125 years railway by children of Haukivuori

postcards children of the 1st class in Haukivuori - left Lyydia - right Matti

postcards about 125 year railway by children of Hiirola school

postcards by children of the school in Hiirola - left nuppu (3rd class) - right vil1 (1st class)

During 2014 the following promotion has been printed:
1. 2 postcards with child art - 125 years railway - Hiirola
2. 2 postcards with child art - 125 years railway- Haukivuori
3. 11 banners for railway stations Haukivuori (5), Kalvitsa (2), Hiirola (2) and Otava (2)
4. magnets with an image of the railway station in Hiirola
5. certificate for participants in the program THIS IS MY BACKYARD
6. time table old timer train on SAVON-RADAN päivä

m. meetings

During 2014 the board has had a meeting 1 time.

n. financial review:

A financial report about 2014 will be ready in spring 2015.

During 2014, about 40 copies of the book THIS OUR NATURE are sold.

The Hiirola community program for SAVON-RATA 125 years has been awarded by the Arts Promotion Centre Etelä-Savo with 2000€
Haukivuoren Aluejohtokunta has contributed 500€ for the banners and postcards Haukivuori concerning.

An application to Etelä-Savon Kulttuurirahasto is not awarded.
At the end of 2014 1 application is still running.

In 2014 43 persons are member of AREFS.
155 persons are following AREFS on Facebook

During 2014 the board has had 1 time a meeting.

Financial support in 2014:
Community program Hiirola SAVON-RATE 125 years was awarded with 2000€
Promotion SAVON-RATA 125 years in Haukivuori was awarded with 500€
From the USA AREFS has received a contribution for their program of 140€

o. PLANNING 2015

Related to the goals of AREFS taide ja kulttuuri ry and its activities in the past we are developing a various program in the field of art, art education, cultural heritage and rural development. It is our intention to involve local communities in participating in the program parts.

In 2015 AREFS is planning the following activities and programs:

1. Art lessons on the internet based on the programs of last years
2. Art workshops at the school in Rämälä
3. Cooperation with Wanha Koulu Vehmaskylä in the field of art and culture activities
4. International cooperation in the field of art education and artist-in-residence
6. Cooperation with the the regional group SAVON-RADAN ryhmä

AREFS is applying for grants at different locations to be able to finance the planned activities.

See more about membership and membership fee on the contribution page of AREFS

PDF file with the report 2014

PDF file with report THIS IS MY BACKYARD 2013-2014

PDF file with report SAVON-RADAN päivä 2014


©2009 AREFS taide ja kulttuuri ry, Finland. All rights reserved.
No reproduction by any means or in any language without prior permission of the author.