From Spring Fling
Schools competition winners on show with work by emerging talents and Dumfries and Galloway’s Archie Sutter Watt. Their work is now on display at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries alongside a selection of pieces by emerging professional artists and an exhibition of oils by Archie Sutter Watt – one of Dumfries and Galloway’s best-loved painters.
The overall schools competition winner was Kirsty Dougan, from the P7 class at Springholm Primary. Her design features birds, deer and a fish all busy painting a picture, has been turned into the official Spring Fling 2015 poster and is being seen all over the country. Runners up Leah McWhir-Smith, Kirkcudbright Primary, P1 and Rachel Barr, Hardgate Primary, P7, also had their work turned into posters for them to keep. The exhibition also features entries by 20 schools winners.
Leah Black, Spring Fling Director, said: “It’s a real joy working with these aspiring young artists and their work is lovely. It’s also very important to nurture this young talent. It’s wonderful that both these exhibitions will be on at the same time as Gracefield has the Archie Sutter Watt exhibition as he was so dedicated to educating young people about art.”
The schools competition is run in conjunction with Dumfries and Galloway’s Education Services department.
The competition, and the bursary scheme, are funded by the Archie Sutter Watt Trust which was established to advance his commitment to arts and education. The top prize was £100 for the winner and £200 for their school, with £50 for each runner up and £100 for their schools.
Alan Watt, who is one of the trustees, said: “Archie taught in schools around D&G and also from own studio.
“His two great passions were art and passing on skills to others. This is something he would have loved. And we like to promote art as a subject and an achievement in schools.”
This year is the centenary of Archie Sutter Watt’s birth and marks the 10th anniversary of his death.
The Archie Sutter Watt exhibition offers a different perspective on his career. Celebrated for his watercolours, it is a chance to explore a lesser known aspect of his work and is called Archie in Oils.
The two Spring Fling exhibitions opened on Saturday following a special preview attended by the public, the schoolchildren and a selection of winners of the bursary scheme. They are free to visit and will run until 4 April.
The Spring Fling Young Artists Bursary scheme has now been running for four years and aims to help recent graduates with a link to the region make the transition into a professional career.
Each winner receives £1,000 to create a body of work for the Spring Fling Open studios weekend and benefits from 15 days of mentoring by an established artist who has previously exhibited in the event.
Leah said: “Making the shift from student to professional artist can be very tricky, and it’s a point where a lot of creative talent is lost because promising young people are forced off in different directions just in order to make a living.
“These awards and the mentorship by people who have built successful careers can be tremendously important. All our winners from the past have remained in the arts and have gone on to other projects, which is tremendous.
“This is a superb opportunity to see how some of them are blossoming.”
The Young Artist Bursary scheme exhibition features work by Katie Anderson, Terri Campbell, Holly Clothier, Fraser Irvine, Rory Laycock and Emma Kerr.
Terri, who graduated from Edinburgh College of Art last year and set up her own jewellery business in D&G, is one of the 2015 winners and has been mentored by Lisa Rothwell-Young, a jeweller and partner in the Cut the Mustard Gallery at Langholm.
Terri said: “Setting up my own business has been challenging but I’m really enjoying it. Having a mentor has been great because Lisa completely understands what I’m talking about.
“She has given me really valuable pointers on all sorts of things like how to approach galleries to talk about stocking your work and the dos and don’ts of setting up an exhibition.”
Her work is very wearable, with ranges that include everything from intricate silverwork to sheep horn found on the farm where she lives with her family.
See more of Terri's work online on her website here, or follow her facebook page here