That event is known as a vernissage (which is actually a French word, not a Swedish one!). In England it’s called a private view – it’s a preview of an art exhibition before it officially opens.
Vernissages are not specifically a Swedish tradition, but they are an important part of student life at my campus. For me, it’s a good opportunity to see what kind of artwork the students in other departments are making. They’re also a great time to socialise at the end of a long week spent studying and creating!
Students at my campus create work using many different methods including photography, film, performance, painting, sculpture, bookmaking and more! All of the works are generally made at the campus itself using the workshops and other facilities. The artworks are usually produced as part of the programmes.
At the arts campus we have two main student galleries, Monitor and Rotor, which students can hire out to stage an exhibition of their artwork. Since these galleries are also open to the public it’s a good opportunity for student artists to promote their work to a wide audience which could include curators and gallery owners, and it’s also good practice for future exhibitions. AND, what’s even greater about these galleries is that the students are in charge of them. It’s great experience for students that might want to work in galleries after their studies.
“But I don’t study art! Can I go to a vernissage too?”. The answer is YES, of course you can! Vernissages take place wherever there are art galleries and in my experience, they are usually free and open to the public. So, you don’t have to be an artist or a member of some secret art club to go!