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ARS FENNICA art foundation

Contact Information

Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation
c/o Kulttuurituotanto Päivi Rajakari Oy
Veegankatu 4 as 4
06100 Porvoo

Secretary General



Kari Niemistö


MSc (Econ.) Kari Niemistö is a significant investor and an active practitioner of agriculture and forestry. He has significant shares in e.g. Raisio and Stockmann, where he has also been involved in other capacities than as an investor; at Stockmann, as Member of the Board and Vice Chairman, and in Raisio, as Member of the Supervisory Board and Nomination Committee.

Kari Niemistö is Chairman of Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation – ARS FENNICA sr and Member of the Board of the foundation Maire Taposen säätiö sr. He has been Member of the Board of the Finnish Brain Foundation sr from when it was founded in 2009 until 2018.


Leena Niemistö


Leena Niemistö is a Doctor of Medicine and Honorary Doctor in Administrative Sciences, Professional Board Member, Startup Investor, and Cultural Influencer.

Key employment history: Leena Niemistö worked at Orton as Specialist in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine in 1997–2004. From 2003, she was the CEO and main owner of the Dextra Medical Center in Helsinki. When Pihlajalinna bought the majority of the company’s shares in late 2012, Leena Niemistö continued until 2016 as Pihlajanlinna’s deputy CEO and CEO of Dextra, which became a subsidiary.

As an investor Leena Niemistö is involved in more than 40 growth companies, eight of which she is the chairman of. In 2017 and 2018 Talouselämä magazine rated her as the second most important female decision-maker in the Finnish economy, and in 2019 as the third most important female decision-maker. In 2019, Leena Niemistö won the Finnish Women’s Board Award. The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Helsinki chose Leena Niemistö as Alumni of the Year in 2023.

Principal positions of trust

 Nexstim Plc and of the Nightingale Health Oyj;   Chair of the board of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet and the Opera and Ballet Support Foundation sr.;   Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Pihlajalinna Plc, and of Finnish Fair Corporation;   Board Member of Raisio Plc, University Pharmacy, National Defence Course Association and Securities Market Association;   Chair of the Advisory Board of Partiosäätiö sr (Scout Foundation) ;   Deputy Chair of the Board and Chair of the Award Panel of the Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation – ARS FENNICA sr;   Supervisory Board Member of the Finnish Cultural Foundation and Supervisory Board Member of the Finnish Research Foundation for Orthopaedics and Traumatology;   Chair of the Advisory Board of the University of Helsinki Alumni Association.

Leena and Kari Niemistö’s collection of contemporary art (the Niemistö Collection) is one of the most important contemporary art collections in Finland.


Heikki Bergholm


Heikki Bergholm M.Sc. (Eng) is one of Finland’s leading economic and business experts.

From 2002 to 2006, Bergholm was the Managing Director of Suominen Yhtymä Oyj, prior to which he served for many years at Lassila & Tikanoja as CFO and President of business units prior to his promotion to President & CEO, a post he held from 1998 to 2001. Heikki Bergholm has served on the Lassila & Tikanoja Board since 2008, assuming the role of Chairman from 2011. He has also previously served on the boards of Componenta, Kemira, Pohjola-Yhtymä, Solidium, Sponda and Suominen.

Key positions of trust:
Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation – ARS FENNICA sr board member since 2005. Heikki Bergholm also sits on the boards of the Finnish Naval Reserve and the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research. Institutum Romanum Finlandiae advisory committee member 2000–2015 and Chairman and member of the Board 2010–2015. Chairman, Tehokkaan Tuotannon Tutkimussäätiö research foundation 2003–2016.


Elina Merenmies


The Board of Directors of Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation ARS FENNICA has invited Elina Merenmies to become its new member for the term 2023–2026. Previously, in 2009–2016, Merenmies has served on the Foundation’s selection panel for prize nominations and was herself nominated for the prize in 2007. The other members of the Board of Directors of Ars Fennica are Chairman Kari Niemistö, Vice President PhD Leena Niemistö and M.Sc. (Tech.) Heikki Bergholm.

Elina Merenmies has studied painting at the Saint-Luc School of Art in Brussels from 1988 to 1989 and monumental painting at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts from 1991 to 1992. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1999.

Elina Merenmies’ career as a visual arts teacher is significant. At the Academy of Fine Arts, she has taught painting as a teacher, lecturer and MA student supervisor in connection with thesis exhibitions in 2000–2012.  Merenmies has been teaching egg tempera painting at the Free Art School since 2014. She teaches first, second and fourth year courses and works as a compiler of the graduating students’ thesis exhibition. She was appointed headmaster of the school in 2020.

Merenmies was involved in the founding of the Checkpoint Helsinki contemporary art organisation in 2012–2013. As an amateur musician, a community artist on a radio programme in Paris (add year) and often with paintings as well, she has collaborated several times with poets and musicians using an experimental working methods and methods that utilise chance. Merenmies has been part of the Aalto University group that developed a 3D painting application. However, as a painter, she is interested in traditional techniques such as tempera and oil paints.

As a member of the core group, Merenmies participated in the preparation of the Visions for Education and Training in Visual Arts 2030 plan that was published by the Uniarts Helsinki in 2022.



Secretary General

Päivi Rajakari

Secretary General

Cultural Producer Päivi Rajakari has worked in a variety of roles in the culture sector since the start of the 1990s. That includes being Curator for Visual Arts for the Helsinki Festival, Secretary General of the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, and Excecutive Coordinator at FRAME – Finnish Fund for Art Exchange.

Her own company Päivi Rajakari Cultural Productions Ltd founded in 2008 has arranged exhibitions and international events.

Päivi Rajakari is currently Secretary General of the Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation – ARS FENNICA sr .



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