Dunure sculptures make a big impression
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Fiona Hyslop, Creative Scotland and South Ayrshire Council have officially launched the South Ayrshire Place Partnership, a programme of activities to celebrate the cultural talent and creative diversity of the area.
Today's launch was a chance to showcase local artistic talent and raise the profile of creative industries in South Ayrshire. The Place Partnership is making a big difference to how arts and culture are developed and supported in the community. The initiative is supported by Creative Scotland, South Ayrshire Council and the South Ayrshire Arts Partnership.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Fiona Hyslop, and representatives from South Ayrshire Council, Creative Scotland, the South Ayrshire Arts Partnership, the University West of Scotland, Ayr Gaiety 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, encouraging 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. Taking part in creative activities can make an invaluable contribution to our health and wellbeing – both physically and mentally.
As part of the Place Partnership plan, around £400,000 of funding and support is helping facilitate a range of activities and events to boost the sector and put South Ayrshire on the creative map. £200,000 has come from Creative Scotland with the remainder coming from the Council and the many partners involved in the South Ayrshire Arts Partnership.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, 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."
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.
South Ayrshire Provost, Helen Moonie said: "We have a solid track record for partnership working in South Ayrshire as well as a good reputation for quality arts and culture. The Place Partnership status will help us build on these attributes, ensuring there are more opportunities for everyone across South Ayrshire to get creative and improve their health and wellbeing at the same time."
Janet Archer, CEO, Creative Scotland, said: "Places and quality of life are transformed through imagination, ambition and an understanding of the potential of creativity. It's great to be working with South Ayrshire Council and the South Ayrshire Arts Partnership to encourage and enable local ideas to be put into action.
"This partnership programme will give people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to participate in creative activity and it's a testimony to the important role arts and culture plays in revitalising communities and promoting wellbeing. I'm pleased that we now have 12 Place Partnerships with different local authorities helping to ensure that creativity continues to thrive in communities across Scotland."