Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, launches South Ayrshire Place Partnership
// 09 February 2016 //
Arts and culture throughout South Ayrshire will receive a massive £400,000 boost as the newly established Place Partnership gets under way.
Launched in October by Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, the Place Partnership is a joint venture between Creative Scotland, South Ayrshire Council and a variety of arts-related interests from throughout the area, brought together under the umbrella of the South Ayrshire Arts Partnership (SAAP).
Among the supporters are the Gaiety Theatre, the University of the West of Scotland, Ayrshire College, Rozelle, representatives from Ayr Arts Guild and individual artists.
The Place Partnership will provide funding and support towards a range of activities and events to boost local involvement in creativity. Creative Scotland has granted £200,000 to the venture, with the remainder coming from South Ayrshire Council and the partners involved in the SAAP.
Set up in 2013, SAAP 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. It is expected that this will boost jobs in the creative sector as well as attract visitors keen to view intriguing artwork, exhibitions, performances and much more.
The Cabinet Secretary, who spent her childhood in Ayr, commented: "It is lovely coming home and also lovely to see how the area is changing. This is the Land of Burns, which has inspired me all of my life."
Referring to the Place Partnership, she 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."
Kerry Walsh, Chairman of SAAP, commented: "The Place Partnership is making a big difference to how arts and culture are developed and supported in the community.
"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."
During the launch, the Cabinet Secretary toured a series of arts projects in and around Ayr, calling in first at Dunure harbour where local children had helped to create two giant seahorse sculptures under the direction of weaver David Powell. The seahorses are to be given a permanent home on top of the harbour wall.
The launch party were treated to a performance
of a remarkable play written by Victoria Bianchi telling the true story of two suffragettes who cycled to Alloway from Glasgow with the intention of blowing up Burns' Cottage. Musicians Jamie McGeechan and Mark McCrone provided a musical interlude to the play.
A visit to Rozelle followed, with a walk round the 20/20 outdoor nature exhibition and a stroll through the grounds followed by a trip to the Gaiety Theatre, where the group were given a tour of the theatre and treated to a short play written and very ably performed by local schoolchildren
Ms Hyslop's tour ended with a reception at the UWS campus in Ayr where entertainment was provided by students of music.