The Arran Art Trail is heading into its second year following its launch last Easter. After the success of the Arran Open Studios’ weekends, now in its sixth year, the year round Art Trail began in April 2017. Artists on Arran wanted to provide both visitors and local people with the opportunity to visit practising artists and craftspeople in their studios and to gain some insight into how creative people work as well as what inspires them. Arran has a wealth of creative talent, often quite hidden to the public, and through the Arran Art Trail the artists hope to create an artistic journey through the island’s dramatic landscape with small studio signs directing visitors to undiscovered places with some spectacular views.
Two of the artists and organisers of the Art Trail, Ann Hume and Angela Elliot Walker, explained that “The island has always been a place of arts and crafts, but when you step off the ferry there’s not a lot that would show that; there’s nothing to show people the art that is happening here. Apart from the Open Studios’ weekend which until now has been the only time for people to access the art here; but this captures people for four days. We wanted something to open up the arts and crafts on the island, and the Art Trail was developed to kick-start that”.
In addition to this the intention is to assist artists and craftspeople in maintaining a sustainable livelihood. With the establishment of a permanent trail, artists can maintain regular opening times and so keep their studios and work accessible all year round to the public if they want to. Towards the end of last summer, Ann and Angela described how there became a real momentum behind the Trail. “If you’re putting the effort in over the year, have regular opening hours, good signage and social media presence, it can really make a difference to artists”.
Ann and Angela explained how the process of organising the Arran Open Studios weekends was instrumental in producing ideas for further events on Arran, and which they hope will contribute to a greater overall arts presence on the island. They researched other places with permanent Art Trails, from the Isle of Skye to one all the way over in Canada. With the Art Trail now well established, several of the artists are working on plans for exciting collaborative events in the future. Ann said, “The Arran Art trail has helped open up thinking of other things, and what else is possible for the Arts here on Arran. The Art Trail and other projects that we are working on all help Arran to think of itself as a creative place.”
The new brochure for 2018 Art Trail will be available on the ferry, at the Visit Scotland tourist office and other venues around the island from the start of April. This features a map showing where the studios are situated along with some images and information on artists’ work. Alternatively click here to download a printable copy.
The trail’s venues for 2018 include potters, painters, jewellers, sculptors, wood turners, photographers, textile workers, glass workers and furniture makers as well as venues and galleries exhibiting local artists work all year round. Participants this year include Assja Baumgartner, Ann Hume, Tracy Gibson, Angela Elliott-Walker, Heather MacLeod, Ruth Mae, David Samuels, Gail Wooll-Rivers, David & Carol Furze, Roslyn Gibson, Ronnie & Barbara McNeice, Simon Thorburn, Andy Gray, and Andy Leese. In addition the Lochranza Distillery gallery is part of the trail.