Operation Pirkanmaa’s grand finale project Window Walkabout fills windows with art and spreads across the region

Taking place in 20 municipalities starting from 24th of October, Window Walkabout is the largest art event ever arranged in the Tampere Region (i.e. Pirkanmaa). The series of free art events inside windows will be realised by up to a thousand cultural actors, and it is the culmination point of the three-year a regional culture development project Operation Pirkanmaa.

Window Walkabout is a multi-site art event realised next autumn in the centre of Tampere and in 19 municipalities in the Tampere Region. At the major event, both performances and installations will be created behind windowpanes, with the audience watching them from the outside of the building. Impressive lighting of the art behind the windows and light art itself will be important parts of the event.

The idea for the project was born when Meri-Maija Näykki, art curator of the project, was cycling in Tampere at night, looking at the empty commercial spaces in the city centre:

– When I was young, we often used to go window shopping in the city centre. From the subsequently empty shop windows, I got the idea of a city-wide art gallery which would offer a whole new way for families to spend screen time together while offering impressive art experiences,” Näykki explains.

At the same time, the regional culture development project Operation Pirkanmaa was looking for a project idea that would unite both the 20 municipalities in the region and the cultural operators involved in the project at the end of the three-year project period. That is when the idea of the project covering the whole of the Tampere Region and being called Window Walkabout was born.

Some 200 art windows in the Tampere Region

The main event of Window Walkabout will be a festival in the Tampere city centre on 24–26 October, which will also kick off the Tampere Festival of Lights. There will be around 60 art windows in the centre of Tampere, and the festival will cover the area between Sorsapuisto Park and Pyynikintori Square, offering art of light and shadows. The event includes circus in the Winter Garden, skateboarding in business premises, shadow theatre at the City Hall, kantele carving in the railway station tunnel and light art in an electric turbine hall, among other experiences.

In addition, cultural operators in the 19 Operation Pirkanmaa partner municipalities will realise their own art windows to illuminate the darkness of autumn at the turn of October and November, which means that there will be about 200 art windows in the Tampere Region.

“A wide range of content is being created for the windows in the partner municipalities by local artists and communities. The aim is to involve local care units, schools and early childhood education and care operators in the community-based activities. Movement between villages is also to be expected: during the opening of the Tampere Festival of Lights, an old railcar will run between Toijala and Tampere, and the passengers will be able to experience a genuine ‘Window Walkabout’ atmosphere,” says municipal coordinator Sipriina Ritaranta.

Mapped routes and surprises

During Window Walkabout, the audience will be able to use their “tourist’s eye” in familiar places, zooming between large architectural forms and small details in windows. On the other hand, an occasional tourist or bystander may unexpectedly see art. A browser-based map service will be created for the event, allowing people to find information about the content of a particular window.

“It is a question of such a big and diverse event that you won’t be able to experience it – even the Tampere part – in one evening. You can select the most interesting works in advance or let coincidence lead you. As the event is free of charge, you can also visit the windows during a period of several days,” Näykki says.

Window Walkabout is the culmination of a trajectory that started with the European Capital of Culture application

Window Walkabout is the final event of the regional culture development project Operation Pirkanmaa. Coordinated by the City of Tampere between 2022 and 2024, it is the legacy project of the Tampere European Capital of Culture bid.

Window Walkabout aims to develop art-based project planning in municipalities and bring together free arts practitioners and the cultural offering of municipalities.

In addition to Tampere, the project municipalities are Akaa, Hämeenkyrö, Ikaalinen, Kangasala, Kuhmoinen, Lempäälä, Mänttä-Vilppula, Nokia, Orivesi, Parkano, Pirkkala, Pälkäne, Ruovesi, Sastamala, Urjala, Valkeakoski, Vesilahti, Virrat and Ylöjärvi.


Producer / curator Meri-Maija Näykki
P. 040 659 8626

Project manager Ilona Kyykoski
P. 040 706 5431

Photos and video by Heikki Järvinen.