Born local

Fullersta Gård is bringing life to a local art scene. But how fertile is an existence in the shadow of hyper urbanisation? More fertile than one could believe, says director Peter Bergman

3 min read

What looks like any 1700th century manor, airdropped over the southern suburbs of Stockholm, is such an unordinary thing as a thriving local (and rural) art scene. Owned and managed by the municipality of Huddinge, Fullersta Gård is on a mission to inspire and entertain.

“In my views we are not competing with the city. To a larger extent we are a complement. Our ambition is to run our own program, and to do it with a local and regional perspective. And we’ve learned that as our local audience is growing, more people starts showing up from Stockholm”, says director Peter Bergman.

How do you attract local visitors you wouldn’t usually meet in a gallery?

One has to remember that we are publicly financed, and that we have to conform to the budgetary guidelines of the municipal administration. With that in mind, we can’t be too obscure. But we’re still trying to produce exhibitions of both relevance and quality. It is all about finding the right dynamic.

How digital are you?

We have a homepage and reach out to our audience with the help of newsletters. We advertise sparsely online, trying to figure out how we can maximize our impact. But unfortunately we don’t have a huge advertising budget, which is why we always need to be careful and thoughtful.

Will we see an emergence of hyper local art scenes, just like we’re seeing a growth in hyper local news outlets?

We, for instance, work closely with a local art club, and we are constantly involved in interesting dialogues. But you have to realise that the general attachment to the arts isn’t necessarily wide spread. There is rather a category of faithful enthusiasts, and another big category of people who happen to visit a gallery every now and then. You can’t really expect that these people suddenly will convert into frequent visitors, so I can’t really imagine a thriving hyper local art scene.

Couldn’t individualisation stimulate the general interest in original art?

I hope it could. Today we are living in a society were art is competing with many other things. Going back, art was to a great extent an affair solely for the privileged – those who had the money to spend on art. Today, going from a generic poster to a print isn’t a huge step, and in that regard I do think that future generations will show a greater interest in art. But I also think that the quest for uniqueness can produce anxiety and stress, since you inevitably will expose yourself to the opinions of others. Perhaps, though, buying art as a token of individuality isn’t tainted by that fear. If you buy art, you buy art because you like it, because you want to have art in your life.

What do you think of this year’s Market Art Fair?

Art fairs are an important part of the art scene, a meeting place for enthusiasts, collectors and the institutional crowd. I’d say most of the galleries have done a good job, with many nice showcases and a good assortment of representative artists. I suppose that was a diplomatic answer, but still…

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