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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Commissions Open Call from EAFS

Ideas to change our world are wanted for three environmental artworks to be at the heart of a festival dedicated to better ways of living.

The organisers of the second Environmental Art Festival Scotland (EAFS), scheduled for August 2015, are offering national and international artists the rare chance to be part of a major project all about transformational change.

EAFS is a rapidly growing biennial arts festival in Dumfries and Galloway and one of its central aims is to encourage practical thought and action on sustainable living. It’s also about creating experiences which will connect people more closely with the world around them.

The EAFS team is initially offering  research and development funding with a view to developing three main commissions – each worth between £10,000 and £15,000.

Jan Hogarth, EAFS Co-Producer, said: “Artists have an unrivalled ability to shape our ideas and spur our imaginations. We are confident that this offer will generate inspiring ideas from artists who want to seize the chance to help make a better world.
“In a society faced with challenges and threats at every turn, this festival is about using creativity for change.

“We are determined to give artists as much scope as possible – so the ideas they come up with could involve anything from installations, structures, visual art, design or architecture through to journeys, events or other happenings.
“The first festival was a tremendous success and sowed the seeds for a bigger event in 2015 which will once again put a national and international spotlight on the tremendous environmental art of Dumfries and Galloway.
“What’s just as important is that EAFS commissions have already been shown to help generate wider opportunities for artists, and that the festival is encouraging more people to see what a great place Dumfries and Galloway is to visit.”

Last year’s event showed the huge potential of EAFS as a festival and as an economic driver for a region which is ambitious to become Scotland’s home of environmental art. It attracted 4,000 visitors and earned more than £140,000 for the region.

Dundee-based international artists Dalziel + Scullion, who were involved in EAFS 2013, have voiced their support for the project.

Matthew Dalziel said: “Dumfries and Galloway is the centre for environmental art in the UK. The first EAFS was a significant event, it laid down a structure for future festivals, artists created new work, fostered connections, debated strategies, the festival revealed examples of good practice and highlighted role models.

“We are looking forward to the next festival, which will build momentum, developing an energy and excitement. It can turn plans into action, and it can nurture new groups and communities of thinking and proactive people. EAFS shows that through art and culture we can effect change and go forward positively and there are many opportunities to get involved.”

James Winnett, a young Scottish artist whose EAFS 2013 work The Rise and Fall of the Grey Mare’s Tail, involved the creation of a gravity-powered fountain using a forest waterfall, is now working on a Commonwealth Games legacy project with the Forestry Commission in Glasgow.

He said: “I’d really encourage artists to apply for these commissions. EAFS was a great experience for me. There was just the right level of support, without being restrictive – it was very enabling.

“When it came to applying for my current project, the EAFS work showed that I could create something that was ambitious, was a spectacle, that appealed to a lot of people but retained its artistic integrity.”

The festival has a series of intriguing themes and commissions will need to respond to one or more of these. They are:
·        Inventiveness, foolishness and generosity as a way of understanding the world
·        Food, clothes, shelter and environmental sustainability
·        Hospitality, hosting and community
·        Journeys, secular pilgrimage and transformation.

EAFS builds on the pedigree and projects and artists connected to Dumfries and Galloway such as Andy Goldsworthy's Striding Arches, Charles Jenck's Garden of Cosmic Speculation and Dalziel and Scullion's Rosnes Benches.

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