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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Kalevala Week to celebrate Finnish epic with Art from the Kalevala exhibit, Kalevalathon marathon reading

Kalevala Week will celebrate the Finnish epic poem with the exhibit "Animal Life - Art from the Kalevala" at the Copper Country Community Arts Center and the 3rd annual Kalevalathon, a public reading of the Kalevala. (Image from Kalevala courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center (CCCAC) and the Finlandia University Finnish and Nordic Studies Program are pleased to announce Kalevala Week 2021, a joint program of public events in celebration of Finland’s national epic, Kalevala. The CCCAC’s annual Art of the Kalevala exhibition and the Finnish and Nordic Studies Program’s annual Kalevala reading marathon will highlight the important place Kalevala has in the Copper Country through events that will be offered online and in person.

CCCAC presents "Animal Life - Art from the Kalevala" through Feb. 27

"Tuonelan Joutsen/Swan of Tuonela" by Anita Jain. Nuno felting, free machine stitching. "Swan was believed to be related to humans, and considered holy. Swans, and in particular Swan of Tuonela was believed to be able to communicate between the dead and the living. Anyone who killed a swan could expect to be killed himself," artist Jain writes. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

The Copper Country Community Arts Center is presenting "Animal Life - Art from the Kalevala," an annual invitational exhibition celebrating Finland’s epic poem, through Feb. 27. The Kalevala is a 19th century work of poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology. It is regarded as the national epic poem of Finland and is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature.

Local artists participating with work related to animals in the Kalevala include: Clare Zuraw, Karen Tembruell, Fredi Taddeucci, Steve Niemi, Clyde Mikkola, Madhura Mehendale, Bonnie Loukus, Joyce Koskenmaki, Angela Kilpela, Jeanne Houle Peters, Lindsey Heiden, Tammy Gajewski, Terri Frew, Bob Dawson, and Cynthia Coté. Also exhibiting are David Kronberg from Cheboygan, MI, and Anita Jain from Minneapolis, MN. The exhibition will run through Feb. 27, 2021. It is also available for viewing on the CCCAC’s website.

"The Broken Knife Revenge" by Angela Kilpela. Acrylic on wood. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

The online exhibit also includes a list of runes from the Kalevala, since artists were asked to include the rune that inspired their piece.

The CCCAC exhibition also displays figurines and utilitarian items carved from wood and birch bark baskets, shoes, and vessels on loan from the Finnish American Heritage Center Archives at Finlandia University.

A virtual reception will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, with a gallery talk titled "Animals in Kalevala and Finnish Folklore," by Kalevala scholar Dr. Hilary-Joy Virtanen from Finlandia University. Everyone is welcome. The reception link is available at

For more information on the exhibition and reception, contact CCCAC Director Cynthia Coté at (906) 482-2333.

Finlandia's Finnish and Nordic Studies to hold 3rd Annual Kalevalathon.

The Kalevalathon will be an online marathon reading of the Kalevala from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25. The Kalevalathon invites members of the public to participate as readers of individual runes. Readers will need to have their own copy of Kalevala to read from, in any language or translation. The Crawford English translation of Kalevala is freely available at; many public libraries also have the epic available for checkout.

Join the event for as long or as short a duration as you like at:

Passcode: 600201

If you are interested in reading one of the runes, indicate your interest by typing your name into the chat function of Zoom after entering the meeting. Readers will be placed in line on a first-come, first-served basis. This event will also livestream via YouTube. All times are in the Eastern Time Zone and all events are free and open to the public.

For more information on the Kalevalathon, contact Professor Hilary Virtanen at (906) 487-7514.