PRESS RELEASE: Contemporary visual art & craft event brings over £1 million to local economy

11th September 2012

Contemporary visual art and craft event attracts 10,000 visitors from 19 countries and brings over £1,000,000 to local economy.

Local, national and international art enthusiasts flock to Dumfries and Galloway to buy £183,000 of art direct from the artists, make 30,000 studio visits and get behind the scenes of creative practice.

Spring Fling in Dumfries and Galloway, a leading light in the field of artists open studios events in the UK, celebrated its 10th birthday in June 2012 with a four-day event from 2-5 June. The event saw studio sales of £183,781 with the overall spend in the region estimated at an all time high of over £1,087,647 – a £20.76 return on every £1 invested. The event attracted visitors from 19 different countries, 54 % of the visitors came from out side Dumfries and Galloway and 1 in 3 of the visitors came from outside Scotland. 99% of visitors to Spring Fling rate the event as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ and ‘worthy of recommending to friends’ and ‘visiting again’.

The event began in 2003 and from humble beginnings has over the last ten years grown into one of the UK’s most successful events of its kind. In 2011 Spring Fling launched The Springboard Project. This two year project funded by the Dumfries and Galloway LEADER programme and The Holywood Trust provides a bursary and mentoring scheme for recent graduates to take part in Spring Fling, has developed a community and education outreach program of residencies and workshops and has introduced a year round digital marketing platform including the newly launched smartphone app and online shop.

The core event is all about getting behind the scenes of artists studios, finding out about what they make, where they make it and how it is happens. Each artist who takes part in Spring Fling goes through a selection process resulting in a high quality event presenting the highest quality artists and makers. This married with the breathtaking landscapes is what draws visitors from across the UK and beyond to Dumfries and Galloway each spring. The 2012 event attracted 10,000 visitors from 19 countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Uganda and USA. The 2012 event welcomed visitors from Australia who came specifically to see Spring Fling participant Maggie Ayres and experience the event first hand, having watched from a far for the last few years.

One of the Australian visitors, Anne, said: ‘We came from Australia to meet with and see the works of our favourite artist Maggie Ayres, and excited about having a workshop with her. Loved all the work by all the artists. We also purchased lots of cards as mementos and inspiration. The setting of the country studios was absolutely gorgeous. Brilliant art trail’.

Demonstrating significant economic impact, Spring Fling substantially boosts tourism in the region. And the artists who participate in the event benefit in terms of promotion, commissions, and direct sales. For many participating artists the benefits lie in being contacted by and offered exhibition opportunities by galleries across the UK and beyond.

Keith Brown says: ‘Being selected for Spring Fling is fantastic! It is great to be part of something special that is well managed and benefits our area too! ’. Ross Fulton says: ‘Spring Fling is the best opportunity I know of to get a genuine picture of the arts and crafts across Dumfries and Galloway. ‘ Daniel Lacey says: ‘The brochure is extremely well made and eye catching which compliments the general standard of work produced by all the artists and craftspeople in it. Amanda Simmons says: ‘Since re-locating to Dumfries & Galloway from London, the Spring Fling Open Studio event has helped considerably in establishing my business in a very rural part of the world.’

Project Manager Leah Black says: ‘Dumfries and Galloway is an immensely creative region and Spring Fling a vibrant open studios event. Whilst the event continues to grow both on and off line throughout the year, the core focus remains on bringing professional artists and the public together over one weekend of creativity and discovery. We are delighted with the record-breaking statistics from 2012 and look forward to more successes in 2013’

Couch, a building turned into a giant sofa and described as ‘magnificent’, ‘clever’ and ‘striking’ by the public was a public art commission funded by Creative Scotland as part of the Year of Creative Scotland. This was a traditional Galloway cottage covered entirely in Plumbs floral stretch cover fabric. Masterminded and created by local artist Alice Francis, Couch formed part of the 2012 studio trail and attracted 1,800 visitors over the weekend.

Visitors to Couch said: ‘Great to see something of this scale! And being able to talk to the artist about the concept was informative’; ‘I love it! We were looking for it, and it appeared in front of us... it was a wonderful surprise! ‘; ‘We found it on my birthday, so on speaking to the artist Alice Francis - I thanked her for 'wrapping up my birthday present so beautifully' this little cottage has been on my wish list for a very long time and to see it so dressed made my heart sing!’

As part of Spring Fling’s 2012 Young Artists Mentoring Programme professional artists Morag Macpherson and Linda Mallett mentored young artists Coral Beattie and Sally Hogarth. The Young Artists received £1000 bursary to create new work, fifteen days mentoring and a free space in Spring Fling. Coral Beattie said: ‘Spring Fling has become a real platform for me at the start of my textiles career, and it is my chance to show everyone how I see the world...a place filled with pattern.’

Applications for professional artists to take part in Spring Fling 2013 open on Thursday 13 September and close on Thursday 25 October. Artists and makers with a connection to Dumfries and Galloway or Spring Fling can apply under the Springback scheme. And new for 2013 is the Neighbours scheme, opening a limited number of spaces to artists and makers from the neighbouring regions of South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Borders and Cumbria to apply to take part in Spring Fling by setting up in a temporary studio in Dumfries and Galloway.

Applications will open at the end of September for the second year of the Young Artists Bursary Mentoring Programme – this programme is open to graduate artists under the age of 25 who have a connection to Dumfries and Galloway. Also new for 2013 - Spring Fling will also offer discounted fees to recent graduates of FE or HE institutions.

 

Notes to Editors

• Spring Fling is a Community Interest Company. The core event is funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council. The Springboard Project, is funded by The Dumfries and Galloway LEADER Programme and The Holywood Trust. And the public art programme is funded by Creative Scotland.

• Spring Fling 2013 will run from 27-29 May.

• Professional artists and makers can apply to take part in Spring Fling 2013 by visiting www.spring-fling.co.uk and can request further information about the Springback scheme, Neighbours scheme or Grads scheme by contacting Leah Black on leah@spring-fling.co.uk or 01387 213 218.

• For full details of the programme from 2012 and the artists, makers and designers who took part, see the website at www.spring-fling.co.uk.

 

Ends.

 

Media information

• For enquiries, interviews etc. contact Leah Black on leah@spring-fling.co.uk or 01387 213 218

• Free-to-use images are available from the Spring Fling website.