PRESS RELEASE : VisitScotland Chief Executive Launches Biggest Ever Spring Fling

18th March 2013

VisitScotland Chief Executive Launches Biggest Ever Spring Fling


Easter weekend taster exhibition previews what’s on offer from Dumfries and Galloway artists during the Year of Natural Scotland 


Spring Fling 2013 will be launched with a special pop-up taster exhibition to be opened by VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead OBE.

The exhibition, at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries, from March 29 to 31, will give visitors a sneak preview of work by the 93 visual artists and craft makers taking part in this year’s open studios event.

Mr Roughead will officially launch Spring Fling at a special drinks and reception at Gracefield at 6.30pm on Thursday, 28 May.

Spring Fling is closely tied into the 2013 Year of Natural Scotland, which celebrates Scotland’s 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.

Mr Roughead said: “Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “I’m delighted to launch the taster event for Spring Fling which is an absolutely fantastic showcase of artists and craftspeople throughout Dumfries & Galloway.

“Spring Fling is a great tourism event which we’re proud to promote at local, national and international level, particularly during this Year of Natural Scotland. Visitors from all over the world come to Scotland to experience our breath-taking natural landscapes as well as our warm welcome and it’s our passion for our own country which also inspires them.

“Dumfries & Galloway is a hugely successful destination for nature tourism along with a great variety of other tourism attractions and accommodation, and can be proud of the high number of return visits to the region.”

This year is the 11th annual Spring Fling and will be the biggest ever – with all the participants specially selected to assure high standards. Work will include painting, ceramics, jewellery, glass, textiles, willow weaving and much more.

Leah Black, Spring Fling Manager, said: “It’s great that we have VisitScotland’s Chief Executive, Malcolm Roughead OBE, to launch Spring Fling during the Year of Natural Scotland. Many of our artists are inspired by their environment and have a deep love of the region and its rural lifestyle.

“We are also pleased that, once again, we are able to hold our opening at Gracefield. It’s a superb venue and the people of Dumfries are always hugely supportive of Spring Fling.

“Spring Fling is a chance to enjoy one of the loveliest parts of Scotland. It is hugely also hugely beneficial for tourism – bringing in visitors to tour the studios, enjoy the landscapes and coastlines, and stay in our tranquil small towns and villages. And once people discover Dumfries and Galloway they keep coming back.”

The launch will also see 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.

Dawn Henderby, Gracefield Arts Centre Manager, said: “With this year’s Spring Fling being the biggest ever we are pleased to be hosting the launch and the pop-up taster exhibition. It will be a fun and colourful chance to enjoy work by a whole range of established and emerging artists and makers.”

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

Dumfries and Galloway is a renowned centre for creativity and the arts, bringing in visitors from all over Scotland, the UK and overseas. 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 will include 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. Similarly there will be photography from Allan Wright, Leeming & Paterson and Phil McMenemy whose work often focuses on landscapes and the environment.

Thanks to a new format it is hoped that this year’s taster exhibition will attract a new and wider audience to Spring Fling. It is being held in three, rather than the usual, two, venues. After Dumfries it will move to Stranraer Museum during April and May. It will then go to Annan – giving easy access for visitors from the north of England.


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 visit



  • 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 visit



  • 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 visit



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


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