Press Release: Arts organisations welcome council’s support for cultural rebuilding in 2021


Dumfries and Galloway Council partnership is essential to help arts sector recover
Arts Festival and Spring Fling look to future collaboration
New Together Again arts season planned

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Councillor Adam Wilson (left) with Joanna Macaulay and artist Mark Zygadlo during Spring Fling 2019. By Colin Hattersley
Councillor Adam Wilson (left) with Joanna Macaulay and artist Mark Zygadlo during Spring Fling 2019. By Colin Hattersley

Three leading arts organisations have welcomed Dumfries and Galloway Council’s ongoing commitment to support major events and festivals. 

Spring Fling Open Studios, run by Upland CIC, and the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, are two of the region’s Signature Cultural Events and DGU is the region’s chamber for the arts. 

This year the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival was forced to cancel and Spring Fling was postponed to October and had to move online. Both are now working closely with the Council for a safe return to physical events in 2021. 

Between them they will receive up to £108,000 over two financial years, funded by the Council’s Major Festivals and Events Strategy (MFES). 

MFES makes an important contribution to Dumfries and Galloway with every £1 invested by the Council generating or safeguarding £30 for the economy. 

Ken Gouge, Chair of the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, said: “We welcome the announcement that we will receive funding from the Council for our 2021 programme of events, especially in these difficult times.  

“We recognise the strong and ongoing relationship we have with the Council in Dumfries and Galloway and are keen to continue to provide opportunities for people across the region to have access to the performing arts.   

“As Scotland’s largest rural performing arts festival, we are able to ensure our communities have opportunities for relevant, meaningful arts experiences, from spectacular large-scale events to shows in small village halls that are tailored to that specific local audience. 

“Although our event will be on a smaller scale in 2021 due to the current situation, we aim to focus on reconnecting individual communities in the region with the vital performing arts and cultural events they missed out on this year. 

“We are also delighted to be partnering with Spring Fling again in 2021. Through this partnership we are able to reach every postcode, creating strong economic benefits for Dumfries and Galloway and to firmly place our region on the map as an area of world class arts provision. We look forward to working with the team at Spring Fling again over the next year.” 

Joanna Macaulay, Assistant Director for Upland Arts Development CIC, said “Arts and cultural events like Spring Fling contribute greatly to society and culture. They have a positive impact across this enormous region as well as providing a showcase that helps artists and makers earn their livings. 

“The creative community is experiencing incredibly tough times right now with events cancelled, galleries closed and exhibitions called off. We were very fortunate to have the support of the Council while we adapted this year’s event.  

“Our aim is not only support the participating artists and makers but also the region’s tourist businesses, which benefit from the large number of visitors who come to the event. Thanks to the support of partners like the Council we are starting to be able to look ahead at how to rebuild in a way that is safe for all and allows us to welcome visitors back to the region and into artists’ studios. 

“We don’t know what 2021 will bring but we are working to make the event as accessible as possible. As well as hoping to open studios, 2021 will see Spring Fling develop further digital offerings as well as new ways to reach audiences beyond the screen.  

“We are looking forward to working with the Arts Festival once more and would like to thank our loyal supporters and participants for standing with us throughout this unprecedented time.” 

A further £30,000 is being allocated over two financial years to Together Again, an arts season curated by DG Unlimited. This will have an emphasis on small-scale, outdoor, online and community-based events and will have an emphasis on rebuilding social cohesion and economic regeneration. 

Cathy Agnew, DGU chair, said: “It has been impressive to see how effectively and imaginatively so many of our arts organisations across the region have been adapting to the current situation. Many have been highly successful in engaging new audiences while still nurturing their existing supporters. 

“This new funding will help us take the next step forward in rebuilding and strengthening the cultural economy, and will provide much-needed support for some of Dumfries and Galloway’s vibrant and talented creative practitioners and cultural organisations.” 

Councillor Adam Wilson, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Events Champion, added: “This funding for the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival and Spring Fling continues a cultural partnership built up over more than a decade.  

“The Together Again arts season will provide dozens of additional cultural events and activities across Dumfries and Galloway next year. The combined package of support will ensure that all of our communities can establish and put on cultural events in 2021 that will be fully marketed and promoted and help social and economic recovery.”