Dumfries Standard Friday: Spring Fling launches for 2012

9th March 2012

FRIDAY’S launch of two very special exhibitions in Dumfries marked the official countdown to Spring Fling 2012.

A highlight of the Scottish cultural calendar, Dumfries and Galloway’s annual art and craft open studios festival (which takes place this year between June 2 to 5) celebrates its 10th birthday in the year of Creative Scotland.

To mark both events, a taster exhibition and a retrospective showcase were both unveiled at Gracefield Arts Centre by Joan McAlpine MSP.

Each of the 76 artists, makers and designers taking part in this year’s festival provided one piece of work to the taster exhibition.

With the diverse range of exhibits spanning painting and photography, jewellery and textiles, glass, ceramics and furniture, the taster exhibition is designed to whet visitors’ appetites for the open studio event in June.

The exhibition runs at Gracefield Arts Centre until April 12 before transferring to Stranraer Museum from April 21 to May 19.

Running alongside the Spring Fling Taster, and commemorating Spring Fling’s 10th birthday, is a retrospective exhibition celebrating the success of the festival and the number of visitors who have supported it through the past decade.

In addition to a slideshow of images, the Retrospective features a film by Wigtown’s Picto Productions which conveys the elements key to the event’s popularity – the region’s great wealth of artistic and creative talent combined with its stunning scenery.

The retrospective also incorporates an interactive element as visitors are invited to decorate a memory wall by noting their memories on paper people.

Artists and makers who have participated in previous Spring Flings have also submitted pieces of work made specifically for the retrospective which were auctioned during the launch.

Also unveiled on the evening were Spring Fling’s 2012 brochure; and the event’s new Smartphone app.

Addressing the guests at the launch, Joan McAlpine MSP, said: “Last year’s event brought over 10,000 people through studio and gallery doors, spending an astonishing three quarters of a million pounds in the region’s hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and galleries over the weekend.

“By any standard, this is a great achievement for what started out as a simple ‘doors open’ invitation to meet the artists and makers in the region.”

Hazel Campbell, Spring Fling chair, added: “We are very proud that Spring Fling – and the incredible wealth of artistic and creative talent our region boasts – now brings many thousands of visitors to Dumfries and Galloway every year.

“This year’s event will be extra special; we really wanted our 10th Spring Fling to be the biggest and best yet.”

As well as a packed four-day programme and the core open studios trail, there will be a mystery bus tour, lecture series, and additional new highlights including a wine tasting evening and an avant garde art installation.

For full details of the programme and to request a brochure visit www.spring-fling.co.uk .

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