The 36th McKechnie Open Art Exhibition

Councillor Brian McGinley at the opening of the 36th McKechnie Open Art Exhibition, which runs until September 21.
Councillor Brian McGinley at the opening of the 36th McKechnie Open Art Exhibition, which runs until September 21.

The 36th McKechnie Open Art Exhibition was officially opened at the weekend and continues until Saturday, September 21.

Brian McGinley, economy and culture portfolio holder for South Ayrshire Council carried out the official opening and there was a good turnout of artists, who had a very mixed media exhibition, from ceramics and small canvases in display cases, to everything from pen and ink through to water colour, acrylic and oil based mediums.

With prices to suit every pocket and canvases and frames of varying size too and the subject matter ranging from still lifes, landscapes, local focal points of interest, animals, people and abstract there’s something to suit all tastes.

Most of the ceramics have been done at a local pottery class led by Carrick artist Winifred Wright, who holds classes on Friday and Saturday mornings at her wee shop on Hamilton street - a very relaxing and enjoyable two hours.

Carrick artist Ian MacKenzie runs the Glasgow University art class which is always heavily subscribed in the winter months. He keeps his students busy, providing plenty of material from photographs or still lifes and changing the mediums they work with to take them out of their comfort zone and try something new.

Other artists exhibiting meet at Z1 Youth Centre for regular classes.

Also on display within the McKenchnie Institute are items about Ailsa Craig, local interests such as a bronze age urn and fossil collection, plus upstairs the Librarian House is worth a step back in time to Victorian era.

Apart from a Saturday, when it is open from 10.30am to 4pm the building is only open in the afternoons: Tuesday/Thursday/Friday - 1-4pm; and Wednesdays from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

The McKechnie Institute opened in 1889 thanks to the bequest of local businessman Thomas McKechnie and was built in the Scottish Baronial style with some Renaissance detailing.

The ground floor originally contained a library, reading room and ladies room. On the first floor was a billiards room and beyond that the Librarian’s House.

A contemporary report states ‘Every evening the places are all but crowded with labouring men, fishermen, tradesmen and others…’

The McKechnie Institute remains a popular community venue, showing exhibitions of items from the McKechnie and wider South Ayrshire collections, plus local and incoming exhibitions.