New programme to celebrate culture in South Ayrshire

Kerry Walsh chair of South Ayrshire Arts Partnership, Janet Archer CEO Creative Scotland, Fiona Hyslop Cabinet Secretary, South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie meet with local artists
Kerry Walsh chair of South Ayrshire Arts Partnership, Janet Archer CEO Creative Scotland, Fiona Hyslop Cabinet Secretary, South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie meet with local artists

A programme of activities to celebrate the cultural talent and creative diversity of South Ayrshire has been launched by cabinet secretary for culture, Fiona Hyslop.

The South Ayrshire Place Partnership has been created by Creative Scotland and South Ayrshire Council.

It hopes to make a big difference to how arts and culture are developed and supported in the community.

Councillor Bill Grant, economic development, tourism and leisure portfolio holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “Around 20,000 people came to view the Great Tapestry of Scotland exhibition earlier this year, so we know there is great appetite for the arts in South Ayrshire.

“Increasing visitor numbers is also good for the local economy so we will be looking to build on the success of events like Next of Kin and the Burns an’ a’ that Festival in the future.

“It is important to inspire people of all ages but the future of our creative industry is in younger hands, so I am really pleased that projects like the Dunure sculptures have been driven by young people who have had the opportunity to push the boundaries of creativity.”

The official launch for the programme was held on October 9 and was a chance to showcase local artistic talent and raise the profile of creative industries in South Ayrshire.

Fiona Hyslop and representatives from South Ayrshire Council, Creative Scotland, the South Ayrshire Arts Partnership and other key decision makers toured the region meeting people and seeing projects benefiting from the place partnership.

A trip to Dunure was an opportunity to see giant seahorses created by artist David Powell with the help of local young people.

There was also a performance of a new play which involves suffragettes trying to blow up Burns Cottage.

Partners have been working on a plan and programme of activity for the past year that will boost the sector and put South Ayrshire on the creative map, ensuring arts and culture are accessible to all.

This is hoped will encourage creativity in young people and promoting South Ayrshire as a centre of creative excellence.

The South Ayrshire Arts Partnership which was set up in 2013 was key to securing place partnership and is keen to develop arts and cultural activities and encourage creative practitioners to set up business in South Ayrshire.

This will boost jobs in the creative sector as well as attract visitors keen to view intriguing artwork, exhibitions, performances and much more.

The economic benefits associated with promoting South Ayrshire’s creative sector are clear but there are other benefits too.

Opening up art and culture to everyone, brings people together and removes social barriers.

Fiona Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that everyone in Scotland can access, enjoy and participate in cultural activity - not just for enjoyment but also for the clear economic and social benefits this brings.

“The South Ayrshire Place Partnership will help us to ensure that no-one’s background is a barrier to taking part in cultural life, helping to tackle inequality, encourage creativity and nurture the ambitions of our young people.”

As part of the plan, around £400,000 of funding is helping facilitate a range of activities to boost the sector and put South Ayrshire on the creative map.