Emerge Press Release


Three Leading Artists to Mentor New Generation of Creative Talent

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Photo by Angela Gilmour
Photo by Angela Gilmour

Press Release

Upland’s Emerge programme aims to help young artists and makers develop successful careers in Dumfries and Galloway

Three leading artists and makers have been paired up with some of Dumfries and Galloway’s most talented young people in a mentoring project by Upland.

The Emerge programme allows wisdom and experience to be passed down to a new generation of creative people, helping them on the road to success.

The scheme is run by Upland CIC, the region’s newly established organisation for supporting visual art and craft.

One of Upland’s aims is to help emerging artists and craft makers to stay, or return to, the area and enjoy fulfilling careers. This also brings benefits to the wider economy as Dumfries and Galloway continues to build its reputation as a centre of creative excellence.

Amy Marletta, Upland’s Professional and Talent Development Manager, said: “This is a valuable way of supporting young people to stay in the region and flourish rather than feel they have to move away for their careers.

“Pairing them up with established artists and makers means they can learn a huge amount by people who have faced many of the same challenges and succeeded.

“It also helps bed the younger people in as part of the arts scene. Dumfries and Galloway covers such a huge area and you can feel quite isolated when you start out. Getting to know other people and working with them is a huge help.”

Each of the successful Emerge applicants will have 15 days of one-to-one mentoring and will also have the opportunity to take part in Spring Fling – Scotland’s premier open studios event on 28-30 May.

Among the mentors is visual artist Denise Zygadlo, from Auldgirth, who will be working with Morgan Hardie, a Dumfries-based portrait painter and gallery assistant at Gracefield Arts Centre.

Denise said: “One of the thing we will look at is whether she has a vision for her career and how to create a pathway so she can achieve her ambitions.

“As a portrait artist Morgan is interested in the expression of emotion, which is something that fascinates me as well, so we will spend time exploring that side of her work and introducing her to other portrait artists to learn about their practice.”

Other areas of work that mentors will be looking at, which can be vital in building a career, include preparing for exhibitions, getting work into galleries and shops and even how to run a small business.

After studying for an HND at Dumfries and Galloway College, Morgan discovered she had a talent for portraiture – drawings and watercolours – and now has her own studio. She is also studying for a degree in psychology, a subject in which Denise also has a close interest.

Morgan said: “I want to be a portrait artist for a career and am already getting quite a lot of commissions.

“I’m really looking forward to Emerge because I think I will be able to learn a lot about managing my work, how to show it correctly and how to approach galleries – which is all really important.

“And working at Gracefield I’ve seen what a big deal Spring Fling is each year and how many visitors it brings in, so it’s going to be great to have that as a way to showcase my art.”

The other people taking part are Lisa Rothwell Young, a Langholm based jeweller who runs Langholm’s Cut The Mustard gallery. She will mentor Clare Williams who works with textiles and surface designs including beautiful scarves and cushions, based near Lockerbie.

Sarah Keast, from Moniaive, who is well known for her printmaking and for her love of the ocean, ships and sea life, will mentor Emily Nash, from near Newton Stewart, who specialises in drawing, mixed media and printmaking.

The project is made possible by the Holywood Trust, which is supporting two of the young artists and the Archie Sutter Watt Trust which is supporting the third.