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L-R: Helen Moore, SCAN, Members of Strathkinness Community Trust, Claire Baker MSP, Lada Wilson, Curator of 201 Telephone Box Gallery, Diana Skyes, Director of Fife Contemporary and Local Artist Bob Bilson. Photo: Scott Wilson

We joined artist and curator Lada Wilson for another great Art in Action visit in the Kingdom of Fife on the 21st August.

Claire Baker MSP (Mid Scotland and Fife) visited 201 Telephone Box Gallery in the village of Strathkinness last week to find out more about how a decommissioned telephone box was generating discussions at the heart of a community.

Due to a lack of use, the telephone box was on BT’s list for removal but local artist, curator and lecturer Lada Wilson instigated a project to convert it into a contemporary art gallery in 2018. It has now been adopted by Strathkinness Community Trust, and some of the members also joined us on Claire’s visit to talk about their support for the project.

Honouring the telephone box’s past theme of communication (in its broadest sense) is at the core of the project. All exhibitions aim to be collaborations between the artist, curator and the local community. Each exhibition is accompanied by an artist’s talk or presentation, sometimes with a workshop.

Claire Baker MSP seen the current exhibition There’s Nobody Home Right Now, Please Leave a Message With a Passing Stranger by Glasgow-based artist Helen Angell-Preece. Within the public space of the 201 Telephone Box Gallery, the artist has created a “threshold” experience for viewers – the threshold between inside and outside, between domestic and public. In the solidity of disintegrating, heavily upholstered furniture, an heirloom is torn apart and the raw materiality of its interior emerges, unfurling from its bounds, growing… fashioning itself into something new.

Diana Sykes from Fife Contemporary also joined us and shared information with Claire about the great work that they do to support the contemporary art and craft network in Fife. She also highlighted the high quality programme of exhibitions and events that they deliver by working with a range of partners and venues across the county.

Claire said: “The gallery provides a fantastic opportunity for the community to connect with visual art and has generated a lot of local discussion. I hope that through the Art in Action campaign, the role of art and artists in communities can be better understood so we can work to ensure better recognition of its value in decision-making at all levels.

The gallery itself demonstrates how the smallest of spaces can be used innovatively to explore ideas and bring visual arts into communities so it can be enjoyed and engaged with on people’s doorstep.”

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Claire Baker MSP and Lada Wilson with exhibition There’s Nobody Home Right Now, Please Leave a Message With a Passing Stranger by artist Helen Angell-Preece.

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