DESPITE THE WINTERY season it’s not an arctic breeze that is sweeping over Helsinki from February 11 – 13 but art in the form of the very first artArctica Festival. During the festival, three Helsinki based artists - singer and singing pedagogy student Alicia Burns, violinist and political science student Katarina Sjöblom and musician and wilderness guide Laonikos Psimikakis-Chalkokondylis - will bring movies, exhibitions, photography, discussions, music, dance, and poetry by artists from every corner of the Arctic to Helsinki’s Sörnäinen district. The aim of this international event that spans almost the entire Arctic from Greenland to Finnish Lapland, from Iceland to Canada is to show the many sides of the Arctic.

Vapaan Taiteen Tila, an old underground bomb-shelter, will be made to resemble the inside of an iceberg. But fear not, the only chills you will feel will be from admiring the art and performances. After the opening celebration on Thursday, which starts at 5 p.m., Vapaan Taiteen Tila will be open free of charge on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. on, and serve as a café/gallery/library/exhibition space where visitors can dive into the depths of the Arctic and its art, and ponder and discuss questions such as what the Arctic means to the people living in it and what more than just an isolated, cold environment this remote part of the world can be as well.

The day program includes e.g. a panel discussions with the topic of how connect centre and periphery, curated by Ekaterina Sharova from the Arctic Art Institute in Arkhangelsk, a dance performance with the title Sinking/Floating by Hailey McLeod and Meghann Michalsky, a workshop/performance by the Helsinki Poetry Connection or a presentation by Mariann Hansen and photographer Eija Mäkivuoti on Mäkivuoti’s photo documentary Birgit’s Garden about the Faroe Islands, their culture, nature and last but not least (metal) music.

The evening events will create a warm atmosphere from 8 p.m. on  with music and movies e.g. by singer-songwriter Benjamin from the Faroe Islands, the short film selection Skábmgovat Goes South or troubadour joikingby Wimme Saari. For these events tickets are required - they are 10€ a pop and can be bought via the Mesenaatti campaign or the festival website. The diverse program offers something for everyone.