Published Oct. 05. 2015

Artmoney Worldwide - Karen and Anne-Mette

We hope that through our exhibitions we can spread awareness of artmoney all over the world to the benefit of many. It's amazing how much creativity can be unfolded 12 x 18 cm, right!

Interview with Karen Sennefelder and Anne-Mette Lehrskov-Schmidt

The two women behind ARTMONEY WORLDWIDE - International artmoney exhibitions



My name is Karen. I was born in Helsingør, where I lived until I was 14. I'm so lucky to have gone on a creative elementary school. So when today I cannot put commas, it is because I was always busy painting set decorations for the school play or something else, when the others studied grammar. Everything was approached in a different way. We had English in small classes and went for swimming in Sweden. There we painted and we had theme weeks - much different than a normal elementary school back then. There were many children from creative homes. There were designers, potters, in general, a parent group with an alternative view on things.

My father took an early retirement due to illness, and so we moved to North West Jutland (Denmark) - here where I live again. I was "the one who came from Copenhagen" on Tømrerby primary school, who drew in her exercise books - it was not always well received. I had much to catch up with. I did manage to make it through technical school (here I ran into the man, I'm married to today) and high school as well. I left with the firm conviction that I should be a farmer - do not come here and say that the environment has no impact on one's choice.

However, it turned out instead, that I spend half a year in Tanzania at a teacher family and lived among other places at a Catholic mission station (where Lars Kræmmer also once stayed). I chose instead to be trained as a primary school teacher in Silkeborg (Denmark), specializing in art and crafts - commas are still a problem.

There was a world outside school that seemed more exciting to me. My educational journey took me around the Danish Technological Institute and later as a student as a computer programmer. I was employed at the Agricultural Technology Center in Risskov, until Jan (the man I met at the technical school) called and invited to the class reunion party. He just forgot to invite the others. He was a cook and had a youth hostel in Horsens, and then I became a hostel-host for the next 20 years.

The hostel had some great spaces for exhibitions. With a large and International audience, it was a perfect place to show paintings and sculptures in public. Boy, I produced much art despite a mega busy lifestyle. I quickly arranged exhibitions around the area as well, and I was accepted at the first juried exhibitions. So when I did not check guests in, I drove around in our old camper and hung paintings at various exhibitions.

How creative energy is coming from is difficult to tell. But I remember that I had a nanny who was very interested in art, and she took me to the art museum, Louisiana. We walked around and her enthusiasm spread to me. There was a creative children's workshop at the museum and we had our pictures exhibited. Otherwise, I drew on everything that was around, which was not always a pleasure for the family, when it happened on the wallpaper.

The best thing about working with art is when you get that feeling inside: This fits right in the closet! Yes! And all the ideas you get - it's not a matter of getting ideas but sorting through them. And it's damn frustrating when you do not have time for it all! You cannot just leave it - right!

I got the idea for an artmoney exhibition north of the fjord (Nothern Denmark) in my own sofa. Limfjordscentret said yes. Anne-Mette was ready to get involved.


My name is Anne-Mette. I was born in Kgs. Lyngby in a bohemian family with traditional grandparents who secured some kind of peace and normality. The family moved around, as it expanded with more children. So I got to go to six different schools, which alternately proclaimed me as genius and an idiot. It gave me a solid buffer and made me chaos-resistant. I have immensely enjoyed this buffer ever since.

I found a fantastic world in books and read or drew whenever I had a chance. I was only 9 years old, when I attended a school of painting for children and exhibited for the first time at age 10 with a poster in the Danish House in Paris. I never took art too seriously, but always participated in painting theatrical sets or tablecloth decorations for celebrations.

I made it through high school with a minimum of effort - it was in the hippie times. Next stop was studying medicine at the University of Copenhagen - here I had to put in an effort, so after half a year I dropped out. The world outside was so much more exciting; I could discuss the world revolution and hung out with a lot of Africans in Copenhagen. I became a social worker. Immediately after that, I took an education as a relaxation therapist and psychotherapist. Along the way, I got a son with a shoemaker's son in Ølgod (Danish village) and ended up in the city of Aarhus/Denmark.

I had clinic in Aarhus for 10 years. Then I broke down with stress, and returned to making art, which I had had a break from. I took a course in ancient painting techniques, worked meanwhile in psychiatry, where I did art projects with patients (“Galleri Himmelfart”), opened a gallery and taught painting.

And then everything went dry! Life was boring and so dry, that it cracked. The son had left home. Everything repeated itself endlessly, with work, exhibitions and the gallery. Something had to change. The local church pastor came by on his racing bike to drink my beer and enticed me to exhibit at the “Kirsten Kjaer Museum,” and before I realized it, I had, to my own surprise, bought a house on the island of “Mors.” I made a studio workshop in the house and took a job, after 35-year break, as a social worker at the local municipal office. I got involved in the local art scene.

Making art is a way of perception. See the network of branches against a lighter sky, feel the movement of a hand, always pay attention to the play of colors and unexpected twists. It gives energy. It is a parallel world in everyday life and can only be shared through crafts like painting and sculpture etc.. I got involved like never before, the network helped and it just evolved quickly!

I have always enjoyed to make small works so artmoney was like tailor-made for me. And then I met Karen.


It soon became clear that we fit together like a hand and a glove. The collaboration quickly fell into place. We were in good time with two years of planning up to the first artmoney exhibition. Anne-Mette thought it was enormously long time - 2 YEARS! But it paid off that we had plenty of time to prepare.


Plans were made and action was taken. We had the time that was needed, and we avoided therefore all the complications. It became an exhibition, we could be proud of. It was a pleasure both for “Limfjordscentret” (exhibition hall) and all the artists and the exhibition was exceptionally well attended. It became a huge success with a big sale: We sold for 27.000 kr. Limfjordscentret said it was the best show they had ever had, because people walked around for hours and discussed art and taste.

Limfjordscentret in Thy, 2012


The best thing that came out of it, has been the contact we've got all the nice, fun and exciting creative souls all over the world. There are so many interesting people out there and I have enjoyed having contact with them in connection with their registration etc.

The worst thing is the uncertainty about whether it works out economically, even if there is budget made. And then the uncertainty of weather our case of artmoney to New York ever arraived or was lost in transit. Our shipping man was ready to strangle me in the end! Imagine if we had stood with an exhibition without artmoney ....


I had nightmares for weeks about it: Imagined us with an empty gallery space in the middle of Manhattan surrounded by angry and disappointed artists. Many artists had made the trip from Europe to New York, to participate in the opening reception. The box arraived, but the delivery person wanted to unload it on the street in front of the gallery several days in advance - with no one to recieve it besides our blind gallery owner, the legendary Steve Cannon. So then they had take it back. We sat in Denmark, trying to manage the chaos on the phone. It worked out eventually!

A Gathering of the Tribes Gallery, Manhattan, New York, 2013


Preparation and good time is valuable. Now that the concept is in place and tested, it takes a minimum of six months to make an exhibition. The first time it took two years. Think of everything and I mean EVERYTHING. Anything can happen ... so always have a plan B. Check the economy well - I know it sounds boring, but that's life. There must also be a clear division of labor and respect for each other's rules and working method.


Karen had packed everything down to the smallest detail, several months before we were to leave. It just was not my style, but damn! I had plenty of time to relax. And no stress - it was unfamiliar.


Setting up the catalog is hard work .... well Anne-Mette have the discipline to do it. Therefore we fit so well together. Anne-Mette is the one who takes care of the layout of the catalog and website, cards and stuff like that. I manage logistics, meaning, I'll take care of the registration, the economy, travel plans, cargo / transport through customs, etc.


The workload with artmoney exhibitions require lots of time and space, once they are launched. There are some peak hours where there really has to be worked hard.

Occasionally our own art is allowed some time. I (AML) have been attending a classical sculpture course this summer and I (Karen) is involved in a creative collaboration with a fellow artist, Henrik Westergaard, who lives nearby, on ceramic projects and exhibitions. Besides that, we have to spend some time on our regular jobs.

Anne-Mette moved to Sjælland/Denmark last year and found a new job as a social worker in the town of Lejre. A new network is being built, and new exhibitions are in the planning. Therefore it has been uphill with the next artmoney exhibition - we have flirted with the idea of Sydney, Paris, London and Edinburgh, and have also had our binoculars targeting Japan. None of the sites have made an agreement so far, though it has been close several times.

Now everything is stabilized, and the next show is in the pipeline. We know that our network of artmoney artists have contacts in many places, so if you are one of those artists who knows a good gallery / exhibition space in an exciting city, please write us an email.

The exhibitions will take time to build up, but it's also fun and we don’t mind to take a few rounds more.

We hope that through our exhibitions we can spread awareness of artmoney all over the world to the benefit of many. It's amazing how much creativity can be unfolded 12 x 18 cm, right!

Find artmoney by Karen Sennefelder HERE

Find artmoney by Anne-Mette Lehrskov-Schmidt HERE