Swedish art clubs are non-profit organisations for promoting an interest in the visual arts and handcrafts. They also create opportunities for artists to exhibit their work and thereby become known to a wider public.
The Swedish art club movement is the second largest voluntary nation-wide organisation – only choral societies exceed their number.
The first public art club in Sweden was founded in 1832, Konstföreningen i Stockholm (The Stockholm Art Club), today called Sveriges Allmänna Konstförening – SAK, now open for members all over Sweden.
The first art club at a workplace was started in 1940 at the CAP chocolate factory in Gothenburg.
Sveriges Konstföreningar was founded in 1973 to form an umbrella organisation for the member art clubs in Sweden.
Sveriges Konstföreningar has 700 member art clubs. Half of these are public art clubs, open to anyone, and the other half are to be found in workplaces, open only to the respective employees.
200 000 people are engaged in the art club movement. Every year, these clubs arrange 3 000 exhibitions and 4000 various cultural programmes such as talks, study groups, excursions and visits to artists. Moreover, the art clubs buy and distribute art for 20 million euro every year.
The principal undertakings of Sveriges Konstföreningar are to provide advice and support to the member art clubs, to promote knowledge about visual arts and handcraft, to produce and distribute educational material and to encourage the establishment of new art clubs. Yet another undertaking is to distribute state-financed exhibition fees to artists who show their work at member art clubs.
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