The art centre Nordnorsk kunstnersenter was established in 1979 by artists in Northern Norway.
This took place as part of a national movement: from 1976 to the mid-1980s, artists throughout all of Norway established art centres with ties to their regional artist organisations.
In 1995, Norway’s Ministry of Culture gave NNKS the task of being a ‘nodal’ institution for art in Northern Norway. NNKS thus came to act in a far more official capacity, with connections to the Ministry, in addition to functioning as a regional art centre.
In 2009 NNKS merged with Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF). The international biennial resulted in a further expansion of NNKS’s scope of activities. A separate artistic advisory board was established for LIAF.
In 2012 NNKS took over the ownership and running of Kunstnerhuset i Svolvær. This large facility contains spaces for both living and working for 10 to 12 persons. Built in the 1950s by Norwegian and Swedish artist organisations, it is one of the oldest operating artist residency facilities in Lofoten and Northern Norway. Kunstnerhuset has given NNKS new possibilities for collaborating with artists and organisations both within Norway and internationally.