On the Finnish Art Consumer

The Finnish National Gallery recently conducted a research on its audience online. Around 500 Finnish people of ages 18-69 years were interviewed for this study.

This research finds that, in general, “art” is of at least “some interest” to around half of the population in Finland (49% of the respondents), and a remarkable amount of people in Finland are “very interested” in “art” (15% of the respondents). However, not that many people visit art museums. According to this study, most people in Finland tend to visit art museums less than once per year (38%), with almost the same amount of people in Finland tending to visit art museums only one or two times in a year (36%).

The people most interested in art in Finland tend to be around 35-44 years old academic women.

What does your average Finn expect, or wish to experience, then, when viewing art?

Here, it is tranquility that comes first. The ideal art experience seems to consist of moments of zen or flow state of mind, of quiet contemplation of the beauty and pureness of art. This is equivalent to what other studies have found that most Finns feel when surrounded by nature. It is no surprise then, that elsewhere in the study, as the respondents were shown different images of artworks, the paintings of Finnish nature were liked best by most, indifferent of the demographic background factors of the respondents.

When asked where the respondents wish to see art, museums come first, with the majority of people wishing to experience art in an art museum (72%). Nevertheless, the vast majority of the respondents of this study would also like to see art on the streets (41%), or in malls and shopping centers (41%), or when using public transportation (29%). Only around one third of the respondents would also like to experience art online (31% said they wish to browse art-related sites by their computer or a mobile device), but also around one third of the respondents would like to share art-related content in social media (36%).

That makes around 2 million people in Finland willing to browse art-related websites and share the content. How should the Finnish art museums react to this?

Based on this study, I recommend taking the artworks online, and encouraging people to share content.