#PorvooX – The Happy Capital of Culture


Klaus Martin (MA, Chairman of Magnusborg Studios and its artist association. & PorvooX koord.) Porvoo Triennial seminar speech 11.2.2016 at Haaga-Helia.

#PorvooX – The Happy Capital of Culture


Hello everyone, my name is Klaus Martin. My education is Master of Theater Arts and I am a chairman of Magnusborg Studios and its artist association.

– Magnusborg Studios is located at the north side of Porvoo, just after the citys old town, upriver about 3 km from city center in this big old people’s house, which is nowadays run by our association. We consist of audio-visual sector small businesses and freelancers: There are f.ex. sound- and filmingstudio-services, filmshooting and –editing, recording and streaming services; sounddesign, animation, grafic artists, musicians, producers, directors, documetary, media art and so on. Magnusborg artist association is one of the local operators, which is very much interested in the co-operation with upcoming Porvoo Triennial.

But today I’m here speakin as a coordinator of Culture-Colloquium #PorvooX and my topic is: #PorvooX – The Happy Capital of Culture

#PorvooX Culture-Colloquium  is a cultur-utilitarian, politically independent, so called “open secret society”, which consists of the city’s cultural operatives, artists, producers and the creative sector entrepreneurs  and they all have one common goal: the promotion and support of cultural life in Porvoo.

#PorvooX was born around the question of why many great cultural events in Porvoo die after just a few years of operation. The general impression was that when volunteers or 3. sector, association based people get finally tired after few years of operation with low budjets and uncertain circumstance without major support, the festivals and events just die. As a counterpart to this development PorvooX colloquium began to meet regularly in an expanding line-up since spring 2013 doing a lot of brainstorming, planning of co-operation and assistance as well as joint marketing.

In these long table meetings the style has been straight but constructive which leads to good atmosphere for creative interactions but also for clearing up disagreements or missundestandings. – These days I can actually really recommend these long table meetings for everyone, because one discussion-session corresponds at least to a hundred long emails!

We are a small culture-town compared to the great cultural mammoth, Helsinki. That’s why the best way for Porvoo to put this town really to the map is to pull together: all sektors of this town, multilingually and multiculturally . The idea of #PorvooX –tag and social media pages is to have common brand for all culture-works on every level and sector and to generate a cultural movement in the area. It’s also about attracting attention outside the city limits. – The same kind of branding and movement could be good also for Porvoo Triennaali. Culture Colloquium has drawn up an optimistical VVM (that is Vision, Values, Mission) manifesto, which little bit provocative vision is: Porvoo, The Happy Capital of Culture!


#PorvooX: VVM, Vision, Values, Mission



Porvoo, The Happy Capital of Culture

  • A city with a vibrant culture is a happy city!



  • Communality and the equality of cultural sectors
  • Variety and scope of cultural supply
  • Quality of cultural contents
  • Cooperation between public, private, business and third sectors (the third sector here means the association based, often voluntary action)
  • Equality, multilingualism and multiculturalism



  • Support for cultural works cooperation and communality [kom-juh-nal-i-tee] as well as the efforts of being a communication channel for local cultural events.
  • To coordinate cultural discussion, information and marketing forums.
  • To create and support intresting cultural events by promoting common idea generation and marketing as well as assembling a diverse event packages.
  • Strive to generate new Porvoo-based cultural identity and movement under the common brand: #PorvooX
  • To activate and encourage to the production and consumption of culture.
  • To participate in public cultural debate by presenting constructive criticism to the content and structure of Porvoo’s cultur-life.
  • Support for open discussion atmosphere and help decision-making (or makers) in order to improve the operating conditions of all sectors’ culture-doers.

Well, what is a happy Capital of Culture and what would this happiness mean over there?

Here’s a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

”One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”

That is, the city of the living culture is a happy city. There is a lot of research about it, but what all the context of Happy Capital of Culture could include?

– at least experiences, insights but also sociability (or communality) and participation

People must be given the keys to the low-threshold cultural productions. And yet when we get synchronized our city’s cultur-facilities, public places, Culture Pubs & Cafes; empty business spaces and so on with artists and cultural organizations as well as fans, it’s much more easy for ex. festival organizer to create a real festival-rumble, which can’t be missed by anyone!

Only by genuine cooperation between all sectors of society, can a wider spectrum of cultural diversity be reached. It is kind of cultural radiation which can be feeled in people’s everyday lives and can not be escaped. Not a single cultural event or individual effort do the city of culture. – Culture should downright burst out from the houses seams, so that people would gather to wonder at it together and meet each other. That common ring will bind this whole little town to a common effort and community, which increases happiness and soon the positive sosioeconomic impacts will follow. This is the kind of Band-philosophy, where the end result is more than the sum of the individual factors. The consept of Band is a good brand of doing together!

– Culture is a slow but sure investment.

– A city with a vibrant culture is a happy city, but to achieve that, we need a city-sized union, That is a Culture-ecosystem

Well, in nature the ecosystem is described by the following: ”An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment” (wiki)

– While Culture-ecosystem is a community living in a city with a vibrant culture in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment.

The premise to functioning culture-ecosystem is the dialogue and working together, which is motivated, of course, by the fruit of art and culture.


What motivates to make art then?

– First comes to mind: A must (or compulsion) what a wonderful excuse!

In recent cultural policy debates here in Finland, it’s even been challenged to what obligation there is to make art! Porvoo-based producer and musician, Pekka Suominen described the case something like this: ”People have a compulsive need to express themselves, with the result that art is a reflection of time, in other words: Art is a must.”

– If Art was NOT a must, it would be like a flower bud that never bother to burst into bloom, that none of the bees and species would not find and so anything new wouldn’t arise. And art reflects our culture, which is the air we breathe; the nectar we drink and the environment, in which we live.

Genuine cultural ecosystem motivates doing things together, because if wanted, in its interactive world every person can be called an Artist , because everybody is an artist, as long as a person itself realizes that, if not even be reminded! – It’s like a helping-bacteria that spreads when people meet, and if necessary, it will transform on the way and in the end everybody will benefit from the newborn root: the culture of working together.

Each human being, in other words each artist of life has the right, if not a duty to take a position and leave even a small legacy for future generations:

Quote: ”Whoever leaves behind one beautiful line of verse, leaves the skies and the earth richer” (Fernando Pessoa)

Porvoo-based dancer and choreographer Panu Varstala, describesd once his motivation to do together with people by the following: ” I’ll try to seek environments where I have a good feeling to be and at the same time I try to do things, that the others would feel the same”

– Well I think, it’s very wisely said: if everybody thought so beautifully, wouldn’t there Only exist places, where it is good to be?

Generally, what is the smallest good act for anybody to make in order to support the movement towards the happy capital of culture?

– Certain Prophet Muhammad once said: ”A good deed is one that brings a smile of joy to the face of another”

Well I suppose that’s it: It is just that other person’s smile, eye-opening insight or a tier of happiness appeared onto the cheek, which is the greatest reward. That happiness allways returns to its sender, and even more refined.

Together, we then dream and build our vision for the future, the narrative of Porvoo, The Happy Capital of Culture!


– Thank you!

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