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Tuula Huuskon teoskuva jossa kaksi naishahmoa, Kuva Pekka Agarth, rajattu

ITE Museum

ITE – Contemporary Folk Art Museum was opened in Kaustinen in 2001, and it has been a part of the K.H.Renlund Museum since 2009. The ITE Museum is tasked with promoting Finnish contemporary folk art, or ITE art, regionally, nationally and internationally in collaboration with different operators.

The ITE Museum manages collections deposited at the K.H.Renlund Museum, the ITE art collection owned by the Association for Rural Culture and Education, and the international naïve and outsider art collections of the municipality of Kaustinen and the Nordic Art School Foundation. Together with the K.H.Renlund Museum, the ITE Museum is responsible for lending pieces in the collections to other museums and exhibition venues both in Finland and abroad.

ITE art is displayed in changing exhibitions in the ITE Museum located in the Museum Quarter of Kokkola. The ITE Museum produces its own exhibitions and also collaborates with different partners and curators. In addition to the artworks included in the collections, the pieces displayed in the museum’s exhibitions are loaned from artists and private collections. The ITE Museum produces touring exhibitions based on its own collection and a wide artist network. In addition, the ITE Museum is actively involved in the field of Finnish and international outsider art.

The museum offers its expertise for, among other things, the production of national and international exhibitions. The equity of the ITE Museum, in other words awareness and information of Finnish contemporary folk art, has been increased significantly as a result of the ITE art mapping projects initiated by the Association for Rural Culture and Education in the early 21st century.

  • Operating in the international field of outsider art has been of crucial importance for this small museum working with marginal art. Connections with European museums, galleries and private collections, studios and organisations, as well as researchers and experts have raised awareness of ITE art – or Finnish contemporary folk art – in Europe. Similarly, outsider art has also been imported into Finland.

    In 2002–2004, the ITE Museum organised its first international project Contemporary Folk Art in Europe – Equal Rights to Creativity with the Association for Rural Culture and Education. Collaboration between the two has continued ever since, and the ITE Museum has been involved as a specialist in almost all international exhibitions produced by the Association for Rural Culture and Education, including the exhibitions in London and Budapest in 2004, Moscow in 2005, Paris in 2006, Randers in Denmark in 2008 and the common Nordic tour in 2009–2011. The K.H.Renlund Museum continued the Nordic collaboration in 2018–2020 by producing the Nordic Outsider Craft exhibition tour, which was on display in each of the Nordic countries.

  • European outsider art association jäsenlogo

    The ITE Museum has been a member of the European Outsider Art Association (EOA) since the founding of the association in 2009. EOA is a European network association that aims to improve the status of outsider artists and increase the appreciation for outsider art in Europe. It brings together cultural organisations, museums, galleries, research units and media channels focusing on outsider art, as well as similarly oriented studios and educational institutions for artists with intellectual and learning disabilities.

    In addition to the ITE Museum, the Finnish EOA members are the Association for Rural Culture and Education (founding member of EOA) and Kettuki Art Centre (national operator for artists with disabilities). The president of EOA is Thomas Röske, Director of the Prinzhorn Collection in Heidelberg, and Finland is represented on the EOA board by Art Researcher Minna Haveri from Kettuki. The home of the association is

    in the GAIA Museum in Denmark.

    The annual general assembly of EOA brings the partners together from all over Europe. The assembly is surrounded by themed and topical seminars and international exhibitions, which attract the EOA members to attend. In 2011, the assembly was held in Helsinki. Since then, the assemblies have been organised in Gent, Heidelberg, Paris, Palermo/Messina, Katowice, Randers, Chichester and Stockholm. Kettuki, the Association for Rural Culture and Education and the ITE Museum will host the 2022 conference and general assembly in Hämeenlinna.

    For more information about the association, see

  • In the early years, the ITE Museum’s collections grew randomly through donations, but since then, the museum has started taking more systematic measures to increase its own collection. The collection includes works from, for example, the following prominent ITE artists: Enni Id, Martti Hömppi, Petri Martikainen, Väinö Oja, Timo Peltonen, Veijo Rönkkönen, Ilmari “Imppu” Salminen and Jussi Tukiainen.

    The ITE Museum’s collection contains more than 2000 works or artistic entities from over 50 different artists. The collection includes sculptures, paintings and drawings, and a significant amount of interview materials and films. Almost twenty of the most prominent Finnish professional photographers have taken pictures of ITE art environments and artists, and the museum’s collection contains nearly 200 single prints.

    The artworks in the collection are loaned to Finnish and international exhibitions. The collections of the ITE Museum are owned by the Association for Rural Culture and Education, and they are deposited at the K.H.Renlund Museum.

    Beginning in 2011, the collected artworks are catalogued in a digital database. It is an electronic archive owned by the Association for Rural Culture and Education, and it also includes material produced in several mapping projects (e.g. artist information and photographs). The cataloguing work is an ongoing process, but the system already serves operators in the field of ITE art as well as researchers, curators and the general public.

    Brochure of the ITE Museum.

  • In addition to its own collection, the ITE Museum also hosts the so-called Dallmeier collection. It is a valuable private collection of European naïve and outsider art, collected by doctors Maija and Volker Dallmeier. The Dallmeiers started collecting art in 1969. Their art collecting took them all over Europe, where they met naïve and outsider artists whose works are now well-known all over Europe.

    In 2005, the Dallmeiers donated their collection to its current owner, the municipality of Kaustinen. The donated collection consists of more than 200 works of art by 57 artists from 17 countries, as well as an extensive collection of books. The artwork includes paintings and small sculptures from artists such as André Bauchant, Enrico Benassi, Erich Bödeker, Emerik Feješ, Katarzyna Kawłowa, Nikifor, Hector Trotin, Josef Wittlich and Anna Zemánková. There are also works by two Finnish artists, Håkan Brunberg and Enni Id. The theme of the sculpture section of the collection is markedly religious and the majority of the sculptures are from Poland.

    In 2013, the Dallmeiers donated almost 100 more works, religious wooden sculptures from Poland, to the Association for Rural Culture and Education as a part of its ITE collection.

    In July 2016, a book was published on the collection, titled Elämää taiteen parissa – Maija ja Volker Dallmeierin naiivin taiteen kokoelma (Living with naïve art – the collection of Maija and Volker Dallmeiers). The book was published by the municipality of Kaustinen, and it can be purchased/ordered from the town hall in Kaustinen, the shop of the Folk Arts Centre and the K.H.Renlund Museum shop.

  • In 2020, the Nordic Art School Foundation operating in Kokkola received a substantial donation of international naïve and outsider art from two gallerists from Düsseldorf, Werner and Elke Zimmer. The collection is deposited at the K.H.Renlund Museum, which administers the collection with the ITE Museum.

    The donation comprises approximately 300 works of art, the majority of them paintings. The collection includes works from the most notable Central European naïvists and outsider artists, such as Erich Bödeker, Minna Ennulat, Max Raffler and Josef Wittlich. A significant portion of the donation consists of the works of Eastern European artists, such as  Nikifor and Ondrej Šteberl, and particularly artists from the former Yugoslavia, including Ivan Generalić, Ivan Rabuzin and Franjo Klopotan.

    Together, the Dallmeier and Zimmer collections form a unique collection unlike any other in Finland. The two collections include some works from the same artists, but from different eras. The collections also complement each other in terms of geography. Displaying the collections provides a wide range of opportunities to demonstrate the history of European naïve art. The collection is valuable and interesting also by international standards.

    There is a great connection between the German collections. Both the Zimmers and the Dallmeiers started collecting art around the same time in the late 1960s, and as a result, they also knew each other.

    In 1982, Maija and Volker Dallmeier founded an association called Erich-Bödeker-Gesellschaft für naive Kunst to honour the self-educated German sculptor Erich Bödeker. Many German collectors joined the association, including the Zimmers. The association maintains and raises awareness of naïve art and artists, and it is still operating actively.

  • Art activities for people with disabilities refers to visual arts aimed at persons in need of support. The activities include assisted art activities instructed by art professionals, involving different techniques and media art.

    The ideology of ITE art, associated with the field of international outsider art, includes the idea of non-discrimination between humans, both as art recipients and as artists. Therefore, the goal of the ITE Museum, operating in the K.H.Renlund Museum, is to offer persons with intellectual and learning disabilities and others in need of support, who are interested in visual arts, an equal opportunity to engage in art activities in Kokkola and Central Ostrobothnia.

    In 2013–2015, the K.H.Renlund Museum organised workshops in collaboration with the Central Ostrobothnia Folk High School and two activity centres, Duuni and Kompassi, operated by the City of Kokkola. The project also increased general awareness and public debate concerning art activities for people with disabilities. The projects were financed with grants from the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

    After the projects, the museum has continued its work to establish the position of art activities for people with disabilities in Kokkola by collaborating with the national Kettuki organisation and including artworks from artists with disabilities in its exhibitions.