PRESS RELEASE: Artists Join VisitScotland Chief Executive to Launch Spring Fling

29th March 2013
Artists from across Dumfries and Galloway joined the chief executive of VisitScotland last night to launch the biggest ever Spring Fling.

Malcolm Roughead OBE opened a pop up taster exhibition at the Gracefield Arts Centre, in Dumfries, which is exhibiting work by all 93 artists, makers and designers who have been selected to take part in this year’s event.

Mr Roughead met some of those taking part in Scotland’s premier visual art and craft open studio event including painters Hazel Campbell and Colin Blanchard, textile designer Jo Gallant, architectural metalworker Adam Booth and sculptor Lucianne Lassalle.

He said: “I am delighted to have launched one of Scotland’s leading cultural festivals. Dumfries and Galloway’s Spring Fling plays such an import role in the region’s tourism calendar, attracting visitors from near and far.

“In the Year of Natural Scotland there is no better time to celebrate Scotland’s natural assets and this impressive open studios event, featuring 93 different artists and makers, makes the perfect connection between the local landscape and the creativity to be found here.”

Thursday evening’s well-attended reception and viewing of the taster exhibition, acted as a preview for the open studios event which runs from 25 to 27 May.

Spring Fling is closely tied into the 2013 Year of Natural Scotland, which celebrates the natural and historic landscapes and art inspired by nature. Many of the artists and makers draw inspiration from the landscapes and wildlife of Dumfries and Galloway – with its magnificent hills and coastlines.

Leah Black, Spring Fling Manager, said: “Last night’s launch at Gracefield was superb, and we were glad that Mr Roughead could carry out the official opening as Spring Fling is so important for tourism in Dumfries and Galloway.

“As this is the Year of Natural Scotland we hope to welcome lots of visitors who want to enjoy our superb countryside and unspoiled environment as well as the amazing variety of visual art and craft.

“There is more than ever to do and see this year as we have a record 93 exhibitors who will be showing their work in a fantastic variety of places, from farmhouses and clock towers to purpose-built studios and even the stable block of Lochinch Castle.”

The launch also saw the unveiling of the new look website and the improved smart phone app, which allows visitors to choose their own route round the Spring Fling studios, and to comment live on studio experiences.

The taster exhibition is at Gracefield over the Easter weekend. It will move to Stranraer Museum during April and May and then go to Annan – giving easy access for visitors from the north of England.

Younger visitors to Gracefield this Saturday and Sunday will also be able to join in the annual Easter Egg hunt.

Spring Fling makes a major contribution to tourism, last year attracting visitors from 19 countries and earning more than £1 million for the local economy.

The taster exhibition includes work by painters such as Hazel Campbell, Lisa Hooper, Andrew McKean, Angela Lawrence, Helen Ryman, Colin Blanchard and many more – whose work often features wildlife or Scottish landscapes. There is photography from Allan Wright, Leeming & Paterson and Phil McMenemy whose work often focuses on landscapes and the environment.


Taster exhibition details


  • What: Taster exhibition showing work by each of the 93 specially selected professional visual artists, designers and craft makers in this year’s Spring Fling
  • Where:Gracefield Arts Centre, 28 Edinburgh Road, Dumfries DG1 1JQ
  • When: 29-31 March 10am – 5pm and 31 March 10am – 4pm.
  • Price: Free
  • Further information: Call 01387 262084 or



  • What: Taster exhibition showing work by each of the 93 specially selected professional visual artists, designers and craft makers in this year’s Spring Fling
  • Where:Stranraer Museum, The Old Town Hall, George Street, Stranraer, DG9 7JP
  • Opening night reception Friday 19 April
  • When: 20 April to 11 May
  • Price: Free
  • Further information: Call 01776 705088 or



  • What: Taster exhibition showing work by each of the 93 specially selected professional visual artists, designers and craft makers in this year’s Spring Fling
  • Where:Annan Museum, Bank Street, Town Centre, Annan, DG12 6AA
  • Opening night reception:Friday 17 May
  • When: 18 May to 15 June
  • Price: Free
  • Further information: Call 01461 201384 or




About Spring Fling

  • Spring Fling is ideal for a day trip or for a short break – with lots of delightful small towns, villages and superb coastal areas to stay and enjoy.
  • Studios are open daily 10.30am to 5pm during the event and are free to visit.
  • The Spring Fling Fringe includes a range of evening events and activities for visitors to enjoy when the studios are closed.These include everything from classical music to a masterclass in artisan pizza making.
  • Getting around: There are three great alternatives to getting around the studios by car:

Six bus tours 

Bike tours 

Walking tours  

  • Finding the route: A fold-out map will be available which shows the studios and the fringe locations. There are also seven suggested coloured routes to follow – each provides a great day-long tour of studios and super countryside.
  • Smartphone app: An updated smartphone app can be downloaded for free so visitors can plot their own routes – choosing where they want to visit by area, name of artist or the type of work they produce.
  • Spring Fling is a Community Interest Company. The core event is funded by Dumfries & Galloway Council. The Springboard Project is funded by The Dumfries and Galloway LEADER Programme and The Holywood Trust. Additional projects are funded by Creative Scotland and The Galloway Association of Glasgow. The Trigony House Hotel are the 2013 Prize Draw sponsors.
  • To find out more visit


About VisitScotland

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation has three key roles:

1) To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors

2) To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland

3) To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations

  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland, inspiring our people and our visitors to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity as Scotland prepares to welcome the world in 2014 and beyond.
    Find out how to promote and capitalise on the opportunities offered by the Year of Natural Scotland at
    Find out more about Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty at
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face to face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to
  • For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to


For more about Gracefield Arts Centre see


Media information

  • Contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or at
  • Free-to-use pictures are available on request.