Artists Listening and Visioning Meeting 1

Gathering of Artists Minds

What are the needs of the artists and what are the artistic needs of the town?

Today, I realised why Stranraer has a big heart. I took the time to learn about Blin Johnnie – John Alexandre. Visiting The Sculpture by Gordon Rogers, on the corner of George Street and King Street, I read about how he entertained generations of locals and in his absence the town changed. In the few months I have lived here, I have witnessed an abundance of kindness for folk less well off. I see the evidence of compassion in the actions of the people, in the music, in the poetry and in the monument dedicated to ‘Blin Johnnie’.

In the meeting we discussed the need for ‘identity’. In the first meeting on the 16th of June 2022 the group came up with ‘Stranraer – the town with a heart.’ In this meeting, the artists took that one set further and came up with ‘Stranraer – the town with a Heart’ I am sure there are many stories like Blin Johnnie’s when we look deeper.

Artists needs.

We started by looking at what visual artists needs were. If, as an artist in Stranraer, you can think of other needs, please add your comments below.

  • Funding – for a space/gallery/year-round exhibition.

  • Marketing and PR to attract visitors and sales

  • Working demonstration space and artist meetings

  • Joined up thinking – possibly my role and connecting all the arts

  • Equipment sharing, to keep costs down, be more creative and better for the environment.

  1. Build artist community – to generate ideas, inspiration, mutual support, inspire young people to join the community.

  2. Exhibition for historic art – Stranraer stories and UK stories, travelling exhibitions etc. Possibly a travelling art gallery in the town.

  • Galloway Hoard – Viking Exhibition

  • Spring Fling to be in Stranraer

  1. All this needs to be on Visitscotland

  2. To make connections with national art colleges and centres to make art more accessible and information more readily available to budding artists.

  3. Create Artist Residences – providing courses and places for people to stay.

  4. Education – A. College has its first art course starting this year. Diana Hamilton will be taking that. It includes art facilities. B. The University holds debates around art. This is needed in Stranraer.

Artists ideas.

This was an exciting part. These ideas are how we can inspire the town with art and lift people’s aspirations subliminally. Don’t you feel brighter when you are in a space that has colour and information? This wasn’t only about making the town pretty but also brining in the history and a more entertaining and accessible way.

There are steps around town that can have colour added or share more of the story of the town.

  • The first idea was about sharing the stories of famous people of Stranraer. How we can present them in art/stories.

  • Creating wall art and brightening up the town.

    We got very enthusiastic about adding historic shanty tales and images to the wall at the car park by the harbour and bring that art into the town by creating a trail of stories throughout time to modern day.

  • For the town signage to be more iconic and represent a town of art and culture.

  • To celebrate historic folk – Sir John Ross, Arctic Explorer. The MacDowells, an early clan of Galloway. Elsie McKay – the first woman to attempt crossing the Atlantic in a plane.

  • These could be photography exhibitions onto walls.

What opportunities we have now

To be recognised as a town for Art and Culture it is important to get to work now and demonstrate that, collectively, we are VERY serious about turning the destiny of this amazing town around. We have:

  • Empty shops that could become pop up art exhibitions.

  • Art and local history that we could create trails around the town and link surrounding areas.

  • A listing of local artists – if you aren’t on it, please contact me at the Stranraer Development Trust.

  • We have buildings that could have art projected onto them and create interest and vibrancy around the town.

  • We could add more monuments as we have reasons to do that and a past and future to celebrate.

  • We could arrange a Geocaching trail. This could be around the town and take people on a treasure hunt around the Rhins. This could include, songs, poems, art, pebbles. There could be a themed one for the Coastal Walk. This would bring many tourists in for an adventure.

  • We could have an outdoor cinema.

  • There could be a ‘story night.’ Local stories read by performers. These could be recorded and used again for future art work.

  • There could be art pieces along the coastal path that could be crayoned over using paper and crayon to create artwork and evidence of doing the trail that could be rewarded with a certificate, downloadable online with evidence of the art.

If you would like to share your ideas, you can add your comments in the section below or come along to the next LIVE event. We are privileged to live in a beautiful place. Let’s show the world. STRANRAER NEEDS YOU!

Stranraer Needs YOU!

Growing a community takes a community. Come and join the conversation and be a part of the change.

Each month there will be a monthly community Listening and Visioning Meeting. These are meetings for you to be a very important part of the growth and inspiration of the town.

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Creating Stranraer

You can find Janet at Stranraer Development Trust

Gateway to Galloway, The Clock Tower, Stranraer.

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