First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP visits Studio Pavilion at House for an Art Lover

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP at Studio Pavilion with Board Member Alison Harley, Studio Pavilion Team, SCAN team and artist Tessa Lynch.

As our summer of Art in Action comes to a close, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, MSP for Glasgow Southside, visited SCAN member Studio Pavilion at House for an Art Lover.

On Friday she met with the venue’s Arts and Heritage Officer Louise Briggs who introduced her to resident artists based in the on-site studio spaces, members of the Studio Pavilion staff team and participants in a ceramic taster workshop that was taking place in the learning and teaching space.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon models some clay with ceramics artist Kevin Andrew Morris.

The Studio Pavilion exists on a unique site that includes not only the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed House for an Art Lover but also a Heritage Centre showcasing the rich history of Bellahouston and the surrounding area of Govan; the Grounds for Play children’s park with outdoor sculptural work and shed studio spaces.

Studio Pavilion offers free contemporary art in Bellahouston Park, presenting an ambitious, pioneering and challenging programme of events, exhibitions, residencies and workshops that is visible and relevant locally, while being nationally and internationally aware.

Artist and constituent Tessa Lynch met the First Minister. Her joint exhibition with Rachel Adams, Stoop Stoop Stooping is Stoopid, closed at the weekend. Tessa, who is represented by Patricia Fleming Projects, chatted to the First Minister about the research behind the artwork – which explored Frances Gabe’s invention, the self-cleaning house, as a framework by which to look at laborious making techniques and connotations of domestic mess.

Rachel and Tessa have been working as artists in residence in Studio Pavilion over the last couple of months, collaborating together for the first time. Both artists share an interest in elevating craft and household activity, often associated with women’s work, into the realm of art. These themes are in stark contrast to the staged space of House for an Art Lover where no domestic chaos or mess is allowed.

Louise was keen to share the with the First Minister that one of the key aims of the Studio Pavilion is to support the public in their understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts. Their initiatives include an annual art class programme, a schools programme; a talks programme and gallery tours. They work with local projects including Govan Men’s Shed, Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice and the GalGael Trust.

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Nicola Sturgeon with artist Tessa Lynch and Arts and Heritage Officer Louise Briggs.

 

Placemaking and Programming: John Mason MSP visits Many Studios, Glasgow

 

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John Mason MSP (Glasgow Shettleston) joined us to meet with Director and Creative Producer Natalia Palombo at Many Studios on Monday 9th September.

Many Studios is a creative organisation committed to championing multidisciplinary practice through quality workspaces and diverse arts programming.  Natalia kindly gave us a tour of the studio spaces and gallery which are situated within the Glasgow Barras neighbourhood.

She explained to John that, as part of the legacy of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the wide ranging placemaking and programming skills of the organisation were employed to design, develop and operate a new creative hub in the East End of the city.

Since 2016, Many Studios have played a major part in the development of The Barras neighbourhood as a new cultural destination, through building a creative community alongside hosting public events, outdoor markets, unique partnerships and international collaborations.

Many provides managed workspaces, shop front creative units, contemporary art galleries, multifunctional meeting rooms and event spaces. All are designed not only to support creativity, innovation and business growth but also be flexible enough to meet the ever-changing needs of the creative industries.

The Gallow Gate is the front facing gallery space within Many Studios. It currently presents an interdisciplinary arts programme, responding to issues surrounding postcolonialism, migration and globalism. Natalia shared more information with John about key work she is doing to develop a toolkit around current visa regulations and the impact they currently have on freedom of movement within the cultural sector.

We also got the opportunity to view The Expulsion, a new and deeply personal film work from artist Larry Achiampong. Newly commissioned by The Gallow Gate, the short film highlights the rich interior world of an unnamed migrant with references to themes of race, class and gender.

 

Anas Sarwar MSP Meets senior curator Claire Jackson at Tramway, Glasgow

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We met with Claire Jackson, senior curator at Tramway Glasgow and Anas Sarwar MSP (Glasgow) on Friday 6th September 2019 for another great Art in Action visit.

Although Anas Sarwar is very aware of the venue and the work that they do to attract a large and diverse audience, it was great to invite him to Tramway to talk in more detail about the work that goes on behind the scenes and also everything that the team does to collaborate with international and local artists, whilst being a popular cultural space for the local community.

Claire gave Anas a tour of both exhibitions: Facecrime by Jonathan Baldock and Until by Nick Cave.

Facecrime is the first solo exhibition in Scotland by artist Jonathan Baldock (b. 1980) who works across multiple platforms including sculpture, installation and performance. Baldock has an ongoing interest in the contrast between the material qualities of ceramic and fabric, drawing them together in his theatrical installations and sculptural assemblages. Tramway worked in partnership with Camden Arts Centre in London, who commissioned the work to bring it to Glasgow.

Drawing from histories of labour, folklore and storytelling, Baldock experiments with glass, basketry and spinning to highlight the decline of traditional making and skills lost due to technology.

Until, organised by MASS MoCA, Massachusetts and co-produced with Carriageworks, Sydney and Crystal Bridges/The Momentary, Arkansas is artist Nick Cave’s largest and most ambitious project to date. Cave who lives and works in Chicago is renowned for his Soundsuits, compelling and ornate figurative sculptures that can be worn and performed. An artist whose work has been driven by the social and personal impact of racism for close to three decades, Cave created his first Soundsuit as a form of both camouflage and symbolic body armour, an insulating layer of accumulated materials and meanings.

In Tramway’s main gallery, Cave exhibits a massive immersive installation made up of thousands of found objects which make viewers feel as if they have entered a rich sensory tapestry, akin to stepping directly inside the belly of one of his iconic Soundsuits. The show references complex issues of gun violence, racial profiling and gender politics that currently divide the United States of America, and the extension of these matters in communities around the world.

It was fantastic to have the opportunity to tell Anas that, over the last 3 weeks, there have been around 9,000 visits to Tramway to see these exhibitions alone, cementing Glasgow’s reputation as an important city for contemporary art. An exhibition on the scale of Until also provides employment opportunities for the large number of technicians and skilled people to help construct the work and make it come together.

Over the exhibition period, Anas learned that the space will also be used for a number of community events including Altered States and Human Threads, a project with Artlink, one of our campaign case studies.  These workshops will focus on how the shared experience of art can honour the human threads that connect people with profound learning disabilities to the wider world, and the wider world to them.

Creative Communities Lead the Way in Dumfries: Joan McAlpine MSP Visits The Stove Network

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L-R: Mike Staples (Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust), Matt Baker (The Stove Network), Scott Mackay (Chair Midsteeple Quarter), Joan McAlpine MSP

On her second Art in Action campaign visit, Joan McAlpine MSP (South Scotland) met with The Stove Network. Since 2011, the network has been comprised of a collective of local artists that have worked tirelessly to breathe new life into Dumfries High Street, whilst developing new opportunities.

The Stove Network have already worked with Dumfries and Galloway council to secure an Asset Transfer of the one publicly owned property in the block – 135-139 High Street, which is now known as the The Oven, currently hosting exhibitions and events, whilst the property awaits development.

Now recognised as the first artist led Community Development Trust in the UK, the Stove Network are now developing plans for Midsteeple Quarter, a building project which aims to bring affordable homes and enterprise space back into Dumfries town centre.

Joan met with The Stove Network founder Matt Baker, alongside Scott McKay, Chair of Midsteeple Quarter and Mike Staples, Director of Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust at the Stove’s fully accessible public art and meeting space at 100 High Street.

There, she found out more about the important role that local visual artists and members of the community have played in making Dumfries a more vibrant and creative place to be. They also discussed the importance of supporting a network that creates opportunities and connections for the creative community whilst engaging with local economies and wider society.

By working with creative people in the town, the Midsteeple Quarter project has provided a new artistic way to connect meaningfully with the community.

An artist led approach to redevelopment and regeneration brings with it playfulness, imagination, conversation and a willingness to take risks within the project.

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Jackie Baillie MSP visits Eleanor Carlingford’s Exhibition in Glasgow

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Artist Eleanor Carlingford with Jackie Baillie MSP at the opening of Paladin on the Ramparts, Art Pistol Gallery, Glasgow

Jackie Baillie MSP visited Art Pistol gallery in Glasgow on Sat 31st August to see works by her Dumbarton constituent and SCAN member Eleanor Carlingford.

Eleanor lives and works in Argyll and Bute. Primarily an abstract painter, her works deal with ideas around identity. She has pursued a varied career from translating to journalism and broadcasting, relationship counselling and theatrical costume manufacture before turning, in her forties, to painting.  She decided then to pursue the honours degree course in fine art painting at The Glasgow School of Art and graduated in June 2005.

She was keen to see Jackie Baillie’s response to her paintings and talked to her about the importance of maintaining classes in the creative arts, drama and music, and the good impact they have on mental health which is a pet subject.

Eleanor said: “Jackie agreed wholeheartedly with this last issue, emphasising the case of The Vale Of Leven school in her constituency where participation in creative activities has been not only maintained but developed despite austerity.”

Paladin on the Ramparts by Eleanor Carlingford continues at Art Pistol Gallery throughout September.

Pete Wishart MP visits Threshold Artspace at Horsecross Perth

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Pete Wishart MP with Artist Katherine Radeva and Curator of Threshold Artspace Iliyana Nedkova

Established in September 2005 and pioneered by independent cultural charity Horsecross Arts, Threshold artspace is about positioning Perth and Scotland within the contemporary art world through curating, commissioning, producing, exhibiting, publishing, interpreting and collecting.

Curator and SCAN member Iliyana Nedkova invited Pete Wishart MP to the space to meet artist Katherina Radeva and see a sneak preview of her first major solo exhibition Transient Spaces.  They discussed the importance of curating and sustaining through continued public funding a dedicated contemporary art space situated within the two iconic venues for performing arts in the city – Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall.

Iliyana, who curated Transient Spaces together with fellow art historian Daniella Dimova-Yaneva, said: “Katherina’s exhibition embodies what our curatorial programme is about at Threshold artspace. As Perth’s only public gallery and museum dedicated to contemporary art and artists’ moving image, Threshold artspace is also uniquely situated at the ‘threshold’ of a much-loved theatre and a concert hall, and thus uniquely positioned to explore the relationship between visual and performing arts, between visual arts and theatre as in case of Katherina’s work. Additionally, one of the fastest growing strands of our museum collection of contemporary art at Threshold artspace is of works by women artists. We are proud that 50% of our collection is comprised of works by women artists like Katherina’s or the Quebec artist and filmmaker Marlene Millar.”

“Katherina’s exhibition is the first opportunity for aficionados of theatre and contemporary art to discover the other, prolific yet under-represented side of Katherina, the visual artist. Following our encouraging sneak preview with Pete, I do hope that all our visitors will also enjoy discovering the intellectually stimulating yet raw and honest style of Katherina’s brush stroke. I believe that they will also be touched by the stories of those like Katherina, born on the cusp of the collapse of communism anywhere in post-socialist Europe, but also the stories of those who share the artist’s experiences of migration, identity and social class – leaving friends and family behind and looking for a better future.” 

Transient Spaces offers timely reflection on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergent debates in curatorial and artistic practice from the former East of Europe. Pete’s initial visit to the exhibition stirred a lot of his own reflections about the end of the Cold War and he pledged to continue the conversation by joining the artist and curators for the accompanying theatre performance Fallen Fruit and the post-show Q&A”.

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Fallen Fruit. Image: Alex Brenner

Katherina said: ‘I am so thrilled to have met Pete and will hold him to his pledge. It was great to have shown him around my first UK major survey show at Threshold artspace. The artspace is such an important cross art form institution which has been putting Perth on the international contemporary art world map since 2005! I am also so excited that the exhibition is pertinently timed to accompany the autumn tour of my Two Destination Language theatre production Fallen Fruit across Scotland. The tour of Fallen Fruit to Perth Theatre on 10 November is an essential part of the exhibition and in fact marks the very day some 30 years ago communism collapsed in Bulgaria.”

Pete was also the first visitor to appreciate Katherina’s ambitious new limited edition light art installation commissioned and acquired by Horsecross Arts as part of Collect + Support – the ongoing initiative for collectible contemporary art of which the first edition enters the public museum collection at Threshold artspace and the rest of the edition is made available to all exhibition patrons to purchase for their own collection. The light art work is inspired by the glowing, five-pointed Red Star – the central trope of communism – yet it traces the hand-drawn qualities of Katherina’s painterly style through light.

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Transient Spaces exhibition view. Image: Alex Brenner.

Communication and Collaboration: Clare Baker MSP Visits 201 Telephone Box Gallery in Strathkinness

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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.

Art in Action Reaches Shetland Isles with Maree Todd MSP and Gaada

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Maree Todd MSP meeets with Amy Gear and Daniel Clark of Gaada at their studio in Da Auld Kirk, Burra Isle, Shetland.

Our most northern Art in Action visit was hosted by SCAN members Gaada, who met with Maree Todd MSP on the 20th August at their studio on Burra Isle, Shetland.

Maree met with Amy Gear and Daniel Clark, co-directors of Gaada and really enjoyed learning about the work that they do to engage meaningfully with issues experienced by Shetland communities.

Gaada is an artist-led community interest company that work in collaboration with a variety of individuals, artists, groups and organisations including schools, universities, councils, libraries and social enterprises. In partnership, they work to deliver a wide range of events that encourage skills sharing and learning.

Many workshops have a specialist focus on Printmaking, in particular, risograph and screenprinting and Gaada would live to turn their current studio into a fully accessible workshop facility for Shetland. Ultimately, they are passionate about reducing barriers to high quality creative development for the growing community of artists based there.

Maree Todd described the work that Gaada do as “empowering and exciting” and looks forward to hearing more about how this young organisation develops.

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Print produced as part of Gaada printmaking workshop.

 

Art in Action heads to Greenock with Stuart McMillan MSP at RIG Arts

We sat in on a brilliant Art in Action visit earlier this week which saw Stuart McMillan, SNP MSP for Greenock & Inverclyde, visit RIG Arts – a socially engaged arts charity that brings professional artists and the community together in a collaborative and creative way.

McMillan, a local resident, is already familiar with the work of RIG Arts and the lasting impact it has had on the area – however the visit allowed him and CEO Karen Patton Orr to discuss some of the deeper issues around the integral role art can play in every community, and how art and artists can often be overlooked when it comes to policymaking.

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McMillan said: “It was great to hear about RIG Arts’ summer activities and the positive impact the visual arts has on communities within my constituency.

“RIG Arts are a fantastic example of an organisation working to empower local people to play a part in shaping the visual landscape in which they live.”

Karen Paton Orr said: “It is important for RIG Arts that our MSP is aware of the socially engaged work that we do in order to understand  the real impact that it has and how it benefits individuals and the broader community.

“Art and creativity are powerful tools which can influence change and can make a positive difference in peoples lives and their environments. It is important that MSP’s as decision makers understand this to appreciate that investment in the arts is vital and generates a strong social return in investment that ultimately benefits the public purse.”

Read more on Stuart McMillan’s blog

Artist Mick Peter talks about developing a large scale public artwork with young people

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Mick Peter, The Regenerators, Glasgow International 2018. Image: Erika Stevenson

For the 2018 Glasgow International festival, the Glasgow-based artist Mick Peter presented The Regenerators, a large-scale public artwork he put together in collaboration with young Glaswegians.

 ‘Most of the work I’ve done has been in galleries or institutional spaces, but The Regenerators was different. It was outside, and being part of the 18-day festival it was also quite brief. It also involved a lot of different people coming together and I wanted to do something that was equitable for everybody.

‘The work itself was essentially a huge hoarding on a derelict former gas purifier shed in Dalmarnock in Glasgow’s East End. The site was offered by Clyde Gateway and I worked with Glasgow School of Art’s Widening Participation Programme to involve young people, which was supported through the Year of Young People 2018.

‘I’ve lived in the East End of Glasgow for 15 years and there’s been a lot of contested things around regeneration, the Commonwealth Games etc – it’s not been a particularly happy history. It’s a sensitive thing to take on, which is why I felt the project had to be something that responded to the idea of regeneration.

‘The artwork references various derelict bits of Glasgow, from torn down tenements to the famous Bluevale and Whitevale flats which were very close my studio and I saw being brought down floor by floor. Part of the process of making the work involved a series of workshops with young people, and it was important that they were properly integrated and meaningful – I didn’t want them to be tokenistic at all.

‘We came up with this idea to ask a couple of artists that I could chose with the young people to work with GSA’s Widening Participation Programme to help to run the workshops. Once it got moving and gained momentum a core group of young people emerged – they were getting really empowered by what they were doing.

‘The frontage of the hoarding incorporated posters they’d designed and, thinking about the idea of public sculpture, they also created these little sculptures which we photographed and blew up as huge cutouts to be paraded in the open space in front. Ultimately we shaped their involvement together – it grew quite naturally.

‘In The Regenerators it’s drawings of people, drawings of buildings,  drawings of familiar things in our world – things we all understand. I think that breaks down the barrier that people sometimes feel, that idea that my imagination is different to your imagination.’

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Mick Peter, The Regenerators Opening, Glasgow International 2018. Image: Hannah Logan