HOW DID IT ALL START? Pertti’s Choice was founded when Pertti Kurikka retired and the band quit touring. The band’s managers Teuvo Merkkiniemi and Kalle Pajamaa asked what they would like to do next. “A brick and mortar store,” was the guys’ answer. Without hesitation the idea was put into action. The team was reinforced by two more experts, when Heini Merkkiniemi and Liisa Tolonen joined the management team.
The opening of Pertti’s Choice was held 24 April 2018. It was a full house.
PERTTI’S CHOICE has been active in a lot during its first year. The new brand and activities have been warmly welcomed and new partnerships have opened doors to outsider artists in cool productions and events. Finnish Outsider Art scene is well connected, and the long term development work and pioneering in different art disciplines has led to the point where internationally acclaimed Finnish artists are now also clearing the way to new culture makers and influencers. This year’s highlights include Kalevi Helvetti’s debut at Outsider Art Fair New York, the releasing of Sam Heat’s album Blue Moments and performance in London and MC KOO’s gig at the Golden Concert in Japan.
THE GENERAL STORE’S products have found responsible cultural consumers. In addition to the store, there has been several fairs and sales events. The store offers high-quality products by art studios and other producers around Finland and new things are stocked constantly. We aim to keep the pricing fair, as it is important to keep the products accessible for everyone. Every new customer brings great joy to us, for the revenue is directed back to the makers by developing the operation and by employing people with disabilities and special abilities.
THE GALLERY has hosted already four distinctive exhibitions that are all celebrate diversity in their own ways. Our artistic programming highlights the original life stories of the artists and engage marginalized people in new positions; planning artistic content, producing, curating and installing exhibitions. We hope the exhibitions will bring together a diverse group of people and new audiences who feel free to do things differently, experience and learn from each other. From the very beginning we have had the delight to work together with artists from many disciplines and professional fields.
With EVENT PRODUCTION we seek out for new audiences and spontaneous encounters. During the first year we have produced 8 events and attended 32 events in Finland, USA, Belgium, Russia, Sweden and Czech Republic. New partnerships, production procedures, technology, media and environments create new audiences for arts and culture with a global reach.
Best events generate new ideas and partnerships. Our core teams flexibility and efficiency often exceed the conventional ways of event production and rely on long-term cooperations and partnerships. This is why we can easily seize great ideas. As an example, the idea for Inside Outside Finland virtual exhibition sparked at the opening of Pertti’s Choice and followed by immediate production kick off. The idea behind IOF was to create new ways of telling stories and accessibility to remote and exquisite art environments.
INFLUENCING Pertti’s Choice supports cultural diversity and creates new opportunities for marginal groups in career development, employment and community engagament. Equal culture and the implementation of cultural rights are manifested in new roles and encounters but also in the right to dream big and execute bold experiments. And since we are onboard with PKN, it is naturally all done with a punk attitude.
We monitor the cultural, social and economic impacts of Pertti’s Choice’s activities. Launching an agency has an impact as such for it means the construction of a new structural and operational models that unite marginal makers and new audiences. With high communicational impact, Pertti’s Choice Tour in 2019–2020 is estimated to reach more than million people in USA, Europe and Finland. Happenings during the tour offer abundant visibility also to our sponsors and networking partners.
Societal impact is a sum of many different matters and the outcome of cooperation. In the future we will emphasize employment issues, societal entrepreneurship and constructing collaboration over borders. We are also going to focus more on regional influencing. For us this means communal development in the Helsinki Konepaja area, where a new cultural district has already begun to emerge. We are already actively taking part in urban development and engaged in creative placemaking for service development and design for residents and tourists. In future prospects Pertti’s Choice will present the global audience a different kind of Helsinki and Finland, full of surprising experiences.
PARTNERS AND NETWORK
Pertti’s Choice operates under the company Daatso Oy which was founded by the members of Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät. Pertti’s Choice is based in Lyhty ry’s premises where Pertti’s Choice operates in close cooperation with Lyhty ry’s cultural workshops. Cooperation comes naturally, since PKN was founded at Lyhty’s music workshops.
Pertti’s Choice coordinates Lyhty’s cultural operations and event production. Lyhty’s cultural workshops employ talented disabled cultural workers with backgrounds in media, crafts, visual arts and music. People from Kivimedia’s and Luovilla’s workshops take care of the daily routines at the store and update Pertti’s Choice’s social media channels. Arts and crafts from the artists of Lyhty are sold at Pertti’s Choice General Store and the agency takes care of Lyhty’s musicians’ bookings.
Pertti’s Choice develops its operations in collaboration with a national and international expert network. The will to improve the status, involvement and possibilities to influence of those living in the margin is a common mission for our partners. Development work is supported by the Finnish Ministry of Culture and Education. The agency’s partners are Lyhty ry, Ketturi ry, Kukunori ry, New Beat Oy and Donkey Hotel Oy.
New collaborations are formed through intriguing projects. We are especially grateful for our partnership with the Finnish Musicians’ Union, who joined us to support the development of an equal music industry. We thank all of our collaborators for the support we have received so far and are eagerly waiting to see what the future holds!