New cultural strategy on the cards for Ayr


A new cultural strategy for south Ayrshire is set to be discussed in Ayr town centre tonight.

South Ayrshire Arts Partnership and Freshayr will host a “Culture Conversation”.

The gathering is going to be hosted in the Ark building in Ayr and is part of the Scottish Government’s “A Culture Strategy for Scotland”. It is described as an attempt to “position culture as having intrinsic value and contributing both directly and indirectly to the health, wealth and success of our nation, defining Scotland as a diverse and distinct society with creativity and innovation at its heart.”

Gerry Cassidy, editor of Ayrshire cultural magazine, The Word On The Streets Magazine, said, “Ayrshire is an area rich in artistic talent of all kinds, from poetry to the visual and performing arts. There are several published authors resident in the area as well as sculptors and painters of national renown. In music, too, Ayrshire is generously blessed. Sir James MacMillan, from Cumnock, is among the finest composers of his generation.”

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Ayr high street

However, Mr. Cassidy also highlighted the issues holding back Ayr, “The area badly needs a focal point where the arts in all forms can be celebrated and promoted to encourage more take-up by younger people and to raise the profile even further of the area’s richly diverse artistic skills. The meeting tonight will hopefully coalesce ideas from local people with an interest in the arts to define a way forward in establishing Ayrshire as a place where the arts are nurtured, valued and celebrated.”

The program is still in an early stage described as “engagement phase”. As a part of this, the Ayr event aims to engage in conversations with artists, cultural organisations, communities and other sectors across Scotland, in order to support the development of a strategy that will set out a vision and priorities for culture in Scotland.

Robert Singer, one of the people behind FreshAyr, says, “We’ve been holding Pop-up events since the November 2016. This drew a very interested audience, which has continued across our ongoing projects and now has an audience engagement on Facebook of nearly two thousand followers.”

On the goals of this specific event, Robert added, “The project (Fresh Ayr) attracted funding from ‘Awards for All’ to research the feasibility of permanent creative facilities in Ayr town centre. The Culture Strategy – Conversation tonight will inform our Creative Strategy Plan, which is due to be concluded by January 2018.”

Besides the conversation around culture strategies the event is also supplying a light buffet, non-alcoholic refreshments, live music, spoken word and a visual art exhibition with artists producing work during the event.

The event will take place on the 14th of November from 5:30 pm until 9 pm. Tickets are free and the public is welcome.

The hosts encourage everyone interested in the topic to come along and let their opinions be heard.


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