PRESS RELEASE: Exhibition Launch 2012

2nd March 2012

PRESS RELEASE

Friday 2 March 2012

Spring Fling unveils Taster and Retrospective Exhibitions as countdown commences to 10th anniversary celebrations

Shows preview exciting 2012 festival, look back at the artists and visitors through the years who have made Spring Fling such a huge hit, and launch Smartphone App and brochure

Tonight’s launch of two very special exhibitions at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries – and official opening by Joan McAlpine MSP - marks the countdown kick-off to Spring Fling 2012.

Now a real highlight of the Scottish cultural calendar, Dumfries and Galloway’s annual art and craft open studios festival celebrates its 10th birthday this year - the Year of Creative Scotland. And there’s an opportunity to get a superb sneak preview of the June event and a flavour of the outstanding talent Spring Fling 2012 will showcase at the Taster Exhibition unveiled this evening.

Each of the 76 artists, makers and designers taking part in this year’s festival will be exhibiting one piece of work to provide a tempting glimpse of what’s in store in the exciting 2 – 5 June event, which promises to be the biggest and best ever Spring Fling. With the diverse range of outstanding exhibits spanning painting and photography, jewellery and textiles, glass, ceramics and furniture, the Taster Exhibition is designed to whet visitors’ appetites for the ‘main’. And all of the exhibits will be available for sale. To give as many people as possible the chance to enjoy this unique preview of Spring Fling 2012, the exhibition continues at Gracefield Arts Centre until 12 April before transferring to Stranraer Museum from 21 April to 19 May.

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 slide show of images, the Retrospective features a film by 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 will be 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 will be auctioned at its launch tonight.

In addition, Spring Fling 2012’s attractive brochure, with lively cover artwork by illustrator Lesley Barnes, will be launched at Gracefield as will – in a first for Spring Fling - its new Smartphone app. Available on iPhone and Android platforms, this has been created to help visitors navigate studios, route-plan their event days out based on studio locations or artists’ disciplines, as well as access drop-down data on artists. It also enables searches for local attractions recommended by Spring Fling artists and signing up as a Friend of Spring Fling. The app – the full version of which will be available to download in April - has also been designed as a year-round guide to the hottest artists, makers and designers connected to Spring Fling and it will display Spring Fling Twitter and Facebook feeds as well as those of its artists.

Joan McAlpine MSP, who will be addressing guests at the launch, says: “It's easy to get complacent about the success story of Spring Fling. We know it's an economic success that brings visitors from far and wide to visit many places off the beaten track. Last year’s event brought over 10,000 people through studio and gallery doors, spending an astonishing 3/4 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.

“I'm happy to support Spring Fling for this, its tenth year and every other year that follows. Spring Fling is at the heart of creative life in the region; things are changing - slowly but surely, heads are being lifted and more of us are looking at the beauty and buzz of creativity that surrounds us. The arts in Dumfries and Galloway are transforming, artists and makers are doing it for themselves, as can be seen by the rise of home-grown festivals, events and organisations like Wickerman, Eden, Wigtown, Big Burns Supper, WASPS and Dark Skies, to name a few. Then there's the art in our landscape, or Enviro-Art as Creative Scotland calls it, the Gretna Landmark and of course the promise of a cultural hub for the region, The Stove. So, Happy Birthday spring Fling and here's to the next ten years of success.”

Hazel Campbell, Chair of Spring Fling Open Studios Event, adds: “I’ve been involved in Spring Fling since its earliest days and it’s hugely rewarding to see how it has grown in popularity year on year. In our very first year, I thought we’d be doing well if we had 50 visitors, and we had hundreds. As word has spread, the event has become more and more successful with visitors from outwith the region, and we’ve built up a loyal following of visitors who come every year from all over the Central Belt and as far afield as the Midlands and London. 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. We’ve a packed four-day programme planned. As well as our core open studios trail, there are much-loved favourites such as our mystery bus tour, and lecture series, plus additional new highlights for visitors and Friends to enjoy such as a wine tasting evening and an incredible avant garde art installation to check out - so Spring Fling 2012 is definitely going to be unmissable.”

Spring Fling is a Community Interest Company funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council, the Dumfries and Galloway LEADER Programme, The Hollywood Trust and Creative Scotland.

Councillor Ivor Hyslop is Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council's Policy and Resources Committee and Council Leader. He comments: “Spring Fling is something that everyone in the region should take great pride in, whether or not they are involved in our thriving arts and creative community. It is a huge asset to the region, enhancing the reputation of Dumfries and Galloway, promoting the attractions we offer visitors and providing an annual event for them to travel to. It not only supports our creative industries but also a wide range of local businesses, bringing huge economic benefits to the region, so we are delighted to see it continue to grow from strength to strength as it celebrates this milestone anniversary.”

Spring Fling runs from Saturday 2nd June to Tuesday 5th June, with all of the studios taking part open daily from 10.30am to 5pm and free to visit. For full details of the programme and the artists, makers and designers taking part, see the website at

www.spring-fling.co.uk .

Ends.

Media information

• For enquiries, interviews etc. contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or Ellen Drummond Ferroni on 07801 820757

• A backgrounder with additional details on Spring Fling is available on request

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