The archive of children’s and young people’s art forms the core, around which the activities of the Art Centre for Children and Young People has grown. The seeds of the archive were sown when Eino Vesalainen, a Hyvinkää artist and art teacher, organised an international exhibition of children’s and young people’s art in 1971. The archive has further accumulated thanks to subsequent exhibitions, held every 3 or 4 years, and in 2010, the archive comprises approximately 100 000 artworks from some 130 countries.
The 15th International Art Exhibition for Children and Young People was held in 2014. The aim of the exhibitions is not only to display art by children and young people, but also to collect pictorial evidence of the environment and surroundings that children and young people live in around the world. The exhibitions are often arranged around a loose theme, in 2014, it was food. The exhibition was titled Let's Eat! All the artworks submitted are included in the international archive of children’s and young people’s art. Artworks in the archive are compiled into exhibitions and displayed in the centre’s own gallery. These exhibitions are also loaned out to other venues. Individual artworks are also given on loan to public and corporate buildings.
The artworks in the archive are mainly drawings, paintings and prints on paper. The age of the artists in the archive ranges from 3 to 20. The international exhibitions have separate series for under 7 year olds, 7 to 9 year olds, 10 to 12 year olds, 13 to 15 year olds and 16 to 18 year olds. The archive is being digitised and catalogued. Digitised artworks are displayed at different web exhibitions and virtual exhibitions. The web exhibitions can be accessed through this website. More than half of the archive is now in digital format and indexed, and at the disposal of researchers at the Art Centre for Children and Young People.