My first six months as Wigtownshire Arts Hub Convenor have been an inspiration and a challenge. I have been inspired by the sheer number of artists who marble and enrich the Wigtownshire landscape with evidence of their creative graft and toil. For similar reasons l have found it a challenge to open dialogue with a cottage industry which by its very nature is often based in the remote fastnesses and margins of my proverbial patch. However, l feel progress is being made, this has been greatly aided by the enthusiasm and support of all who l have so far communicated with in the Wigtownshire creative sector.
The groups and individuals l have been involved with so far have raised a number of issues which they feel impact greatly upon their professional development and quality of life and include:
• A desire to play a part in the regeneration of their communities via arts related activities.
• The need to increase footfall to their events, exhibitions and studios.
• The recognition that financial security, is required to aid personal development as an artist.
• A willingness to embrace technology, to communicate with global audiences.
• The feeling that Wigtownshire loses out on resources and support, because of the Dumfriescentric nature of our region.
• A willingness to share information about their work with industry peers and members of the public.
• A desire to be kept informed of commissions and funding opportunities.
|Richard Leat and Sam Skivvington, directors of The Grainstore Community Interest Company, at the Grainstore consultation event held at the end of May.|
• Creative Whithorn: Which supports the development of arts related activities in Whithorn and surrounding area.
• Galloway Creatives: A fledgling collective of artists which has been successful in organising various exhibitions from Glentrool to Kirkudbright.
• Stranraer Grainstore: A community interest company which has purchased a disused Grainstore in Stranraer town centre. They have plans to turn this monolithic building into a community arts centre. A beer and music festival was recently organised to consult with the local community.
• Sea Pyots: Currently exploring options for gallery and exhibition space in Stranraer, they feel the both facilities are essential to assist in the development of the arts in Stranraer.
• Whithorn and District Business Association: A group keen to engage with artists to create events and commissions which help highlight the heritage of Whithorn. In medieval times Whithorn was a religious and educational centre of world importance, in more recent times it is still recognised as an important pilgrimage centre.