Big news today people......we now have our first ever Regional Convenor for the Arts in D&G. Kathleen O'Neill has been commissioned to carry on the work she began as a consultant to the arts sector in the region. The Fresh Start team take over the story........
The appointment of the first ever Regional Arts Convenor for Dumfries and Galloway has been greeted as a major step forward in strengthening the area’s creative sector.
The role is a vital element in plans to give the D&G arts sector far more say over its own future and provide it with skilled professional support it needs to achieve its objectives.
During the 21 month contract the new Convenor, Kathleen O’Neill, is commissioned to work with artists and organisations to support an exciting programme of events and projects which will further promote the region as a centre of creativity.
For the past year she has been the project manager for the Fresh Start for the Arts initiative which was set up to transform strategic arts leadership in D&G.
“I will now have the privilege of being able to support and link artists, organisations and partnerships that share a driving ambition to nurture the arts, make them accessible to new audiences, and to help put a national and international spotlight on all we have to offer.”
Kathleen, who has many years of experience in professional arts development across Scotland, the UK and overseas is also a practicing visual artist
Her commission was awarded by Dumfries and Galloway Council in consultation with Dumfries and Galloway Arts Partnership (DGAP) and the new Chamber of Arts.
Cathy Agnew, Chair of DGAP, said: “The arts in Scotland are undergoing rapid change and new approaches are needed to meet the challenges of the future.
“Kathleen’s work with Fresh Start has been critical in developing the dynamic and effective approach that is needed if our arts sector is to continue to flourish and in order to bring on the next generation of artists.
“We are absolutely delighted that as Regional Arts Convenor she will be able to help realise the vision for the future which has been generated by Fresh Start.”
The Regional Arts Convenor will play a pivotal role in linking the arts sector to the Council and other stakeholders. She will work closely with an Executive Regional Arts Hub made up of key organisations, individuals and projects.
She will also oversee four area arts convenors who will work at a local level to develop the arts in Wigtownshire, the Stewartry, Nithsdale and Annandale and Eskdale.
Councillor Ronnie Nicholson, Council Leader, said: “The arts make a vibrant contribution to our region’s economy and a positive difference to the wellbeing of our local communities.
“I am pleased to see artists and arts organisations in Dumfries and Galloway setting their own direction and working collaboratively with each other, our Council and Creative Scotland to make things happen.
“This new role is a key one within the new structure for the arts in the region and we look forward to working with Kathleen.”
Fresh Start for the Arts was set up by DGAP and funded by Creative Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council and LEADER.