Trained both as an architect and visual artist, Maija Kovari works in the fields of urban planning and contemporary art. She started her career with sculptures and installation works, participating in exhibitions in Finland, Germany and Switzerland. Working also in art management, she curated and organized several exhibitions and worked for a non-profit art institution called Rajataide that facilitated the work of young and emerging contemporary artists. On her vice president year 2012 Rajataide won the highly acclaimed government price for visual arts.
Getting increasingly interested in public space, Kovari studied to become an architect, while maintaining an artistic practice. In he studies she concentrated in planning and urban design, and in 2012 started working for Rambøll, one of the leading consultant companies in the Nordic countries in the field of urban development. Her role in Rambøll included urban planning and design projects of different scales, from master plans to streetscapes. Surprised however about the lack of artistic collaboration in the company’s urban space projects, she began developing ways to integrate the work of contemporary artists into public design processes in the firm. Kovari also wrote her master’s thesis in architecture on the collaboration of these two fields, and afterwards conducted a further study on the subject, working as an artist in a street design team while building an organizational model for other artists to do the same.
In 2016, she left her position at Rambøll to start her own company. Public Art Agency Finland consults municipalities and corporations on integrating art into their planning and building processes. At the moment, they work in collaboration with several Finnish municipalities and urban planning consulting companies such as Rambøll and WSP. You can read more about the projects of Public Art Agency Finland on the company webpage, here.
While running Public Art Agency Finland, she has continued her own artistic practice, with an emphasis on installation and sculpture in public space. You can find photos of latest works here, and blog posts on works in progress here
For any questions, you can contact her at maija (^-^) kovari.fi
1 / 2016 -
Director at Public Art Agency Finland
- Facilitating the use of contemporary artists in the field of urban planning
- integrated public artworks as part of urban design projects
8 / 2012 - 1 / 2016
Designer & Artist at Ramboll Finland Oy
- strategic planning and general development of urban areas trough land use planning
- developing the role of art as part of urban planning and design
- designing integrated artworks as a member of urban planning and design teams
- site planning and detailed urban design
6 / 2012 - 8 / 2012
Assisting designer at Area Planning / City of Tampere
- area planning and other site-specific land use planning
- graphic design
1 / 2011 - 3 / 2012
Producer & Curator at Borderlines Exhibitions / Finland & Switzerland
- curating and producing a pair of contemporary art exhibitions
- finding collaborators and organizing funding
6 / 2010 - 8 / 2010
Graphic Designer + Assistant Producer at Cultural Services / City of Tampere
- setting up exhibitions, familiarizing with processes of exhibition production
- graphic design of marketing material
Architect, Msc.Arch, 2010 - 2014 / School of Architecture, Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland,
Bachelor of Visual Arts, B.F.A., 2007 - 2011 / Fine Art, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Tampere, Finland
Specializing in installation and sculpture, 2009 / Construction - Art & espaces, Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design, Genève, Switzerland (Erasmus Exchange Program)
Basics in Philosophy, 2006 - 2007 / Faculty of Philosophy, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Basics in Architectural Design, 2005 - 2006 / Faculty of Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland
Read more about art programs and strategic planning projects I've led on the company website of Public Art Agency Finland - here
Design projects - summary
2017 - Public Art Strategy for Urban Planning / City of Mikkeli
- Creating a strategy for the city to use contemporary art in public spaces.
2017 - Public Art in the Arctic Region / University of Lapland, companies from the arctic travel industry
- Creating a strategy for the travel sector in Lapland to use contemporary art in public spaces.
2016 - Okapi - Public Artwork Coordination / City of Espoo, Ramboll Finland
- Coordinating the execution of a public artwork consisting of a wall painting and a sculpture in Espoo.
2015 -2016 Laukaa City Center Masterplan - invitation competition, 1st prize / City of Laukaa
- The infill development and the visual quality of the cityscape, new buildings GFA 85 000 m². Please find pictures and more info here.
2015 - 2016 The pedestrianization of Tuomiokirkonkatu Street - area plan / City of Tampere
- Creating the area plan to enable the pedestrianization of a central street
2015 - 2016 Artist in a street design team - a pilot project / City of Tampere
- Leading a project to develop new ways to integrate artists’ work into urban design processes
- Working as the artist in the team, producing both designs for the artworks, and a written report on how this kind of collaboration could be put in wider use. Please find the report here (in Finnish) and a description of the project here.
2014 Idea competition of Vuolteenotri Square - a competiton to develop a riverside square / City of Tampere
- In the invited competition we renewed the functionality and visual quality and the of the square. Pictures and more info here.
2014 - Kyttälä general plan / City of Tampere
- Designing the streetscapes to facilitate pedestrianization of a central part of the city
- Defining preliminary suggestions for the role of public art in the area
2014 - 2015 Lahti General Master Plan / City of Lahti
- Designing the streetscapes, the role of art in the city center
- General plan for the role of public art in the city center
2013 - 2014 General Plan of Olavinkatu Street and Central Square / City of Savonlinna
- Designing streetscapes, market place & harbour area. The role of art in the development
- Defining preliminary suggestions for the role of public art in the area
2013 - 2014 General planning of the Tampere Tram Network- Land Use / City of tampere
- he infill development of the new area plan regions
2012 - 2013 Idea Plan of the Temppelivuori Harbour / City of Raisio
- Drafting the infill development and the visual quality of the harbor area
2012 - 2014 The Strategic General Plan of the City Center / City of Pieksämäki
- Strategic general plan to develop the central areas of the city
2012 - 2014 Inventory of the Modern Building Heritage / City of Pieksämäki
- Inventory work to facilitate the protection of the modern building heritage
texts and publications
2017 Wall painting project lead trough (in Finnish)
An article in Kuntatekniikka -magazine about a wall painting project where I worked as a coordinator / faclilitator for the City of Espoo, at Public Art Agency Finland. Find the pdf (in Finnish) here.
2016 Art as part of urban Planning, article
I wrote an article for a guide book on public art, a project that was part of a state funded project to promote the use of public art. The article deals with integrating art into urban planning projects. Please find the article here, and the whole book here (both in Finnish).
2015 Artists role in a street design team - new possibilities, interview
I was interviewed for the guide book on public art, a project that was part of a state funded project to promote the use of public art. Please find the interview here, and the whole book here (both in Finnish).
2014 Infrastructure - Art - Infrastructure -a dictionary, masters thesis in Architecture
2013 Architecture in Tampere, a series of architectural guide maps
I was responsible for the conceptual and graphic design, as well as the production of the maps introducing local architecture. Please find photos and more info here.
For most recent writings, go to my blog.
Have talked about my work in events and seminars invited by the following:
2017 SAFA Association of Finnish Architects
2017 Arts Promotion Centre Finland
2016 The Artists’ Association of Finland
2016 Aalto University
2016 Future Cities Laborarory Singapore / Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich
EXHIBITIONS and public art projects
2018 (UPCOMING, summer 2018) Public artwork inside Ranua Wildlife Park, Lapland, Finland
2016 Peilikirkas / Mirror Clear, Otavalankatu, Tampere, Finland / public artwork
2016 Public Art: Important, Boring, ______? / research residency and art event - Instinc Residency - Singapore
2016 Koskettavin veistos - A most touchable sculpture / group exhibition, Sanomatalo & Art Kaarisilta, Helsinki, Finland
2016 Vieraita tuttuja - familiar strangers / a solo exhibition, Ti-La, Jyväskylä
2013 Let’sOpenTourismForUS / architectural workshop and competition on accessibility - 2nd prize / St. Denis, Reunion Island, France
2011 Borderlines / group exhibition, Gallery Muro, Geneve, Switzerland,
2011 Borderlines / group exhibition, Gallery Emil, Tampere, Finland
2011 Ars Kärsämäki / group exhibition, Kärsämäki, Finland
2011 House Games / group exhibition, Jyväskylä, Finland
2011 Work-play-work / solo exhibition, 00130Gallery Project Room, Helsinki, Finland
2010 Human | Culture / group exhibition, theme year of interactive art, Imatra, Finland
2010 Home / invited group exhibition, Haihara Art Center, Tampere, Finland
2010 Robinson et Vendredi à Berlin, invited group exhibition, Skulpturenpark Berlin Zentrum, Berlin, Germany
2010 I’m pretty sure I need this, solo exhibition, Ikuinen Gallery, Tampere, Finland
2009 D’iles et d’Ídentities, invited group exhibition, LIYH, Genève, Sveitsi
2009 ArtVeturit / group exhibition in an old train hall, Tampere, Finland
2008 Forces of Light, Festival of public art, Helsinki, Finland
Rajataide Art Association (VP 2012)
My sincere thanks for supporting my work to:
Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Greta ja William Lehtisen Säätiö (The foundation of Greta and William Lehtinen), The Finnish Cultural Foundation / Pirkanmaa Regional Fund, Oskar Öflunds Foundation, Foundation for Environmental Art, and the Foundation on the Tampere University of Technology