Skaftfell was founded in the year 1998 by a group of art enthusiasts in the town of Seyðisfjörður, the Skaftfell group. The center is dedicated to nurturing and exhibiting visual art, running a exhibition-, education- and residency program. Skaftfell is a meeting point for artists and locals and serves as a center for visual art in all East Iceland.
Exhibitions in the developing years included: Boekie Woekie in 1996, Exhibition for everything – in honour and memory of Dieter Roth in 1998, Bernd Koberling, Björn Roth & Dieter Roth in 1999.
The center is situated in a grand 420 sq. timber house, built in 1907. In addition to the main exhibition space with running exhibitions the whole year through, Skaftfell houses a 150 sq. gallery and a Bistro with a good library of book-art, art-books and related material. In addition Skaftfell runs the residency program in two other houses.
In the past decade Skaftfell has hosted a large number of exhibitions by international, national and local artists. The main emphasis being on contemporary art. Skaftfell has an important role in the area as a center of information and education on art and art related subjects. Every year Skaftfell organizes and/or hosts various seminars with art students in collaboration with the Icelandic Art Academy and other schools and institutions on all school levels.
Skaftfell is founded in memory of the artist Dieter Roth (1930-1998) who lived and worked in Seyðisfjörður for periods of time during the last decade of his life. In Skaftfell you can find many of his book works and prints on display.
In a newspaper interview with Garðar and his daughter Gréta published in 2000, they expressed their ambition to host international exhibitions, to develop a connection with the European art scene, to run a residency for artists and scholars and organize workshops for children and teenagers.