ARKEN is built on a foundation of local commitment, which was strong long before the buildings were completed. The citizens of Ishøj and the Vestegnen have supported their new art museum from the very beginning — and this support remains important for ARKEN.

The Vestegnen region, west of Copenhagen, doesn't have many major art museums. And it's important that you find the museum a nice place to visit — whether you're a child, teenager or adult. For each exhibition there are workshops open to children accompanied by an adult — and the young at heart are also welcome to stop by and play. These workshops are also a great way to learn about the current exhibition and digest the experiences you have just had together.

Photo: ARKEN
Community Board

In the upcoming Community Board, we gather locals across our local community, Vestegnen. The museum's wish is to become more relevant to more people and contribute to strengthening cooperation and engagement in Vestegnen. Art must inspire regardless of background, be widely accessible and inclusive for everyone, and therefore the museum strives to include more local voices in the museum's work.

Partnerskaber på Vestegnen
Photo: Frida Gregersen
Partnerships in the Vestegnen region

Over the decades, ARKEN has maintained strong and lasting collaborations with municipalities in the Vestegnen region west of Copenhagen, including the municipalities of Brøndby, Ishøj and Vallensbæk. The aim has been to give schoolchildren in all three municipalities an intensive three-day course at the museum and to collaborate with Ishøj Library and Ishøj's care homes to enhance the quality of life of local residents. Click 'Learning' if you're curious to learn more about our educational offerings.

Photo: ARKEN
Bricklaying students brought Kirkeby's drawings to life

Bricklaying students from NEXT Copenhagen had the experience of a lifetime when they brought Per Kirkeby's (1938-2018) drawings to life and erected four new brick sculptures in connection with the exhibition Bricks — Per Kirkeby (2023). Danish Minister for Children and Education, Mathias Tesfaye (Soc. Dem.) dropped by and was challenged by the hard-working students to demonstrate how much he could remember from his days as an apprentice bricklayer. The collaboration between ARKEN and NEXT paved the way for new approaches to interdisciplinary collaboration.

Third Space, fælles kunstprojekt
Photo: ARKEN
Third Space

Third Space will be a new multifunctional artwork created as a collaboration between young people from secondary school Ishøj's Ungdomskole and artist Henrik Plenge Jakobsen in 2024. When the work is completed, it will be the new meeting place for the Vestegnen region for local activities such as sports, communal dining, performances, dance and play. This is the first time that young Danes have been invited to co-create a lasting work of art on this scale in an art museum. Third Space was nominated for the Art Explora - Académie des beaux-arts European Award 2023, and is funded by Foreningen Roskilde Fonden, Region Hovedstaden Kulturpulje and Spar Nord.

Sanddag på ARKEN
Photo: Freja Vesterløkke
The annual sand day

On the annual sand day, more than 1,000 kindergarten and school children from Vestegnen come to Ishøj Strand for workshops based on the museum's exhibitions. It's a fantastic day at the beach, where the children meet the art and the museum in new ways. Sand day is supported by Ishøj Municipality, Vallensbæk Municipality, Brøndby Municipality, Glostrup Municipality, Hvidovre Municipality, Høje-Taastrup Municipality and Albertslund Municipality.

BUTTERFLY! fællesværk
BUTTERFLY! fællesværk. Photo: ARKEN
The Room We Shared

Guests of all ages remixed their experiences with BUTTERFLY!, ARKEN's collection curated by Esben Weile Kjær in the museum's first major collaborative work created by the museum guests themselves. The walls, floors, tables, chairs and ceiling served as canvases, and guests were invited to draw, cut and paste. The space was filled with love, chaos, poetry, exclamations, activism and a '90s vibe. The idea was simple -- do whatever you feel like.

'Souvenirs' ARKEN i Ishøj bycenter
Souvenirs, Deniz Eroglu. Photo: David Stjernholm
Ishøj City Center (shopping centre)

Shop at Ishøj By Center and become an art collector. In 2019, shoppers were offered this deal when the museum moved into the Ishøj By Center shopping centre among its many shops and eateries. The ARKEN Lab branch was open for a three-year period and featured changing activities and exhibitions, including SOUVENIRS by Danish-Turkish artist Deniz Eroglu and HYDRA by Danish artist Eva Steen Christensen. SOUVENIRS was an art project designed as a kind of Ishøj community souvenir shop that sold quirky Ishøj souvenirs such as scarves saying Ishøj, a bird from a local playground landmark as a keychain. The pieces played with the boundaries between everyday activities and the space of art: If you bought a souvenir in the shop, you brought home a little work of art and became an art collector. In November 2022, Eva Steen Christensen established an open sewing workshop in ARKEN Lab where people could donate old clothes and textiles and help sew strips together for the sculpture "Female Nude", which was shown at ARKEN in 2023 as part of the HYDRA exhibition.

Art Tech-Camp
Photo: Abdellah Ihadian
New digital realities

How can art be used as a tool to explore underlying dynamics, power structures and messages in an age when technology and artificial intelligence are impacting the way we communicate, interact and form communities? Through camps, talks and events, this project explored how contemporary art can establish a dialogue about current trends and taboos and shed light on blind spots. The project was a collaboration between the Danish Film Institute, Cybernauterne, Aarhus Municipal Libraries, Roskilde Libraries, Tønder Municipal Libraries and numerous artists and writers as well as schools and youth study programmes from all over the country. Projects in the Art + Tech Lab are funded by, among others, @lliancen, which is a partnership between the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET), the Media Council for Children and Young People, Børnes Vilkår, the Danish Youth Council, Skolelederforeningen, Efterskoleforeningen, Styrelse for Uddannelse og Kvalitet (STUK), the National Centre for Documentation and Counter Extremism (NCFE), and the Ole Kirk's Fond.