Artist plan to help boost city’s cultural presence
MORE than 20 artists will be installed in communities across Glasgow in a bid to shore up its cultural strength and compete against rival cities from around the world.
Glasgow was crowned European Capital of Culture in 1990 and will now strive to emulate those heights through “renewal and regeneration”.
Under wide-ranging plans stretching out 25 years into the future, the city will also host a regular cultural summit where artists can generate and exchange ideas to drive forward its artistic ambitions.
Glasgow’s visual arts scene has become famous internationally, with a string of artists winning the prestigious Turner Prize in the last two decades and many successful graduates of the Glasgow School of Art.
Deputy leader David McDonald, the chairman Glasgow Life – which runs the city’s museums, libraries and galleries – said there was a “need to consider what’s needed to continue to flourish as a city of culture and how to compete against all those other cities that have developed their own strong cultural offerings in recent years”.
The commitment to the arts has been warmly welcomed by ‘Glasgow Effect’ artist Ellie Harrison – whose receipt of a £15,000 Creative Scotland grant to remain in the city for one year sparked controversy amid claims of “poverty safari”.
She said the city’s council had come up with a “great idea”.
“The central message of my year working in Glasgow in 2016 was that if we want to create a more equal, sustainable and connected society, then we need more opportunities for people, artists, everyone to work creatively with and in their local communities,” she said.
“This vital sort of work should not just be the preserve of the privileged few.”
Seonaid Daly, co-ordinator of the Scottish Contemporary Art Network, which champions contemporary art in Scotland, said the venture should be “applauded”.
She added: “A co-produced plan is essential to capitalise on the wealth of knowledge and expertise within the creative sector.
“However, communities and artists must be enabled and supported to initiate their own pro- jects like residences, to ensure they address their own specific needs and challenges.”
Speaking at a City Chambers committee hearing yesterday, Mr McDonald said: “We believe that when it comes to the renewal and regeneration of our city, we believe that culture is currently underused, or at least undervalued.
“So as a starting point, we will launch a scheme, in partnership with local organisations, to employ an artist in residence for every community.
“We want that to be a person who can create, to champion local art and to further strengthen the link between culture at its most local level and our wider aim of improving health, well-being and quality of life throughout the city.”
There will be a new local festivals fund, he said, while the new cultural forum would be chaired by the Lord Provost.
The plan to have an artist working in every one of the 23 council wards is at the moment uncosted.
Mr McDonald added: “We also think we can do more to support our local artists. We are proposing to work closer than ever before with the city’s artists, and invest in them and the work that they do.”
David McDonald said the move will help the city continue to flourish