#ArtUnlocks experiences this Summer

This summer the public and MSPs across Scotland are being urged to go out, and reconnect with the country’s exciting visual arts scene.

SCAN has launched its #ArtUnlocks campaign to encourage people to visit a gallery, take part in an art activity, or seek an artistic experience that really means something to them. And if they like what they find, SCAN is asking them to use the hashtag to spread the word about what art has unlocked for them.

It’s time to remind ourselves what art can do. All across Scotland artists and arts organisations are adding new meaning to everyday experience, giving people tools for thinking and doing, and enhancing lives for the better. The changes we experience through art can be subtle and small, but the difference they make can be immense.

As part of the campaign, MSPs will be encouraged to visit the people and places making art in their constituencies. From the Hebrides to Dumfries, politicians will be invited to learn about the great work being done by artists, art venues, and art workers. They will be encouraged to take that message back to their parliamentary offices, where new knowledge could make a difference to communities across the country.

Moira Jeffrey, Director of Scottish Contemporary Art Network, said:

Right across Scotland the visual arts make our lives richer, adding new meaning to everyday life, creating space for learning new skills, and providing tools to think about the issues that affect us. From simple visual pleasures to talking about big social challenges, art which is free at the point of access in communities across the country, unlocks new experiences at a time when the road to recovery after the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis are creating huge challenges.’ 

And this summer there’s no shortage of artistic riches to discover SCAN members around Scotland. SCAN members are working with a wide range of local communities to help people find their creative voice.

Artlink Edinburgh and the Lothians use participation as a tool to encourage partnerships between people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and some of Scotland’s most renowned artists and designers including Claire Barclay, Laura Aldridge, Laura Spring and Lauren Gault. Glasgow venue Tramway is currently hosting the exhibition Human Threads (until 28 August). This show crafts beautiful artworks as rich sensory experiences derived from many years of developing methods and ideas with people with PMLD, their families and care staff at the Cherry Road Learning Centre in Midlothian.

Artlink Artist Laura Aldridge said:

‘In these dark times it is very necessary to be open to changing perception, connecting to different forms of creativity that will make us all feel good, better on the inside; more alive, kinder, compassionate and full of empathy. More able to be in this together.’

Artlink Artist Lauren Gault said:

“Working with Artlink and developing this collaborative artwork has utterly changed my relationship to materials, my types of attention…things I cannot describe in written language. I have learned how adaptable, resilient and capable of collective, circular care we are. I have learned how art can catalyse a new ‘closeness’, and that there is a feeling of shared togetherness only possible through encounters with art” 

Kenneth Fowler, Director of Communications and External Relations at Creative Scotland, said:

We know from independent research and testimony that art and creativity makes life better, improves our wellbeing, helps us learn, and brings us together in shared experience. We wholeheartedly support the Art Unlocks campaign from the Scottish Contemporary Art Network which demonstrates the positive impact that contemporary art has on peoples lives and encourages us all to get out, see some art, engage and participate.