Stina Krook was born on 15 March 1919 in Jyväskylä, but she grew up and studied in Helsinki. Her parents were engineer, industrialist Bruno Krook and his wife Lydia née Grönroos. Stina’s first husband, Carl Olof “Dan” Nordman was killed during the Continuation War in 1942 in eastern Karelia. After the war, Stina moved to Stockholm where she met Åge Nicolaisen from Denmark.They were married and lived in Copenhagen with their two daughters.
Upon the death of their father, Stina and her sister Brita inherited the Survo estate near Jyväskylä. Later on, the property was sold to the expanding City of Jyväskylä, and the sale price was used as the start-up capital for the Stina Krook Foundation. The idea of establishing a foundation as a means of supporting visual and performing arts was initially inspired by discussions with friends in Finland, most of whom Stina Nicolaisen knew from her study years.
For the Foundation to be up and running, a special permission was required to enable its originator, who no longer was a citizen of Finland but of Denmark, to become a board member and participate in decision-making. The charter for Stina Krook Foundation (Stina Krooks Stiftelse) was signed on 10 December 1976, and the constitutive meeting was held on 4 April 1977. Stina Nicolaisen herself served as the chair of the Foundation until the year of her death in 1987.
Why theatre and visual arts? In his history of the Stina Krook Foundation, Erik Kruskopf provides answers to the question. Theatre appears to have been a bright spot in Stina’s life both during her study years and the wartime, but appreciation of visual arts has its roots in her childhood home. In one of her opening addresses given at the Foundation’s award ceremonies over the years, Stina Nicolaisen reflected on her view on art and why she wanted to bestow this cultural gift: “Each individual is a source of ideas, emotions and dreams. Few of these make their way to our consciousness, and only very few individuals possess the ability to express and give form to these ideas, emotions and dreams.- – – Artists are the ones we turn to in order to be able to see beyond the everyday horizon.”
Since its establishment, the Stina Krook Foundation has supported more than 500 artists in the fields of visual and performing arts with special regard for the Swedish-language community in Finland. Award recipients include, among others, Carolus Enckell, Carl-Gustaf Lilius, Per Stenius and Tove Jansson in the field of visual arts, and Lasse Pöysti and Märta Laurent in the field of theatre. The discretionary awards and grants are presented without an application process and, thus, they are, as one of the recipients has put it, an unexpected “gilt-framed surprise” in the often arduous life of an artist.
Source: Erik Kruskopf: The invisible lady – Stina Krooks Foundation 1976–2013