Archie in Oil - Spring Fling Young Artists

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A host of new exhibitions comes to Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries featuring new faces and old. Opening on Saturday 28 February is a major retrospective exhibition of the unseen work in oil painting of one Dumfries and Galloway’s best known local artists, Archie Sutter Watt (1915 - 2005).

The exhibition marks the centenary of his birth in 1915 and commemorates 10 years since his death. Although best known for his watercolours, monotype and etchings, Archie did use oil and the works currently held by the Archie Sutter Watt Trust have been restored and re-framed for their first exhibition in over 30 years.

The Trust was set up in 2006 by some of Archie’s close friends and family with the aim of supporting education in art for young people in Dumfries and Galloway. A number of additional oil works have been loaned from private collections and there will be work in other media also available to buy, with profits going back to the Trust to continue its work.

Through fundraising exhibitions from the sale of work from the artist’s archive and donations, the Trust had been able to support projects like the Spring Fling Young Artist Bursaries, grants to schools for etching presses and other materials, a residential study weekend for D&G school art teachers at Hospitalfield College and other young artists’ competitions and events.

Archie trained at Edinburgh College of Art after WWII and was a student of Sir William Gillies and a friend of fellow painter John Maxwell. He taught in schools in Dumfriesshire for many years while continuing to paint and exhibit and was a founder member of the D&G Arts Festival. He was very proud to be elected to the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW). A passionate teacher, he inspired a generation of up-and-coming artists from his Kirkgunzeon studio classes.

The exhibition launches at 2pm on Saturday 28 February and Councillor Tom McAughtrie, the Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Community and Customer Services Committee will welcome Archie’s nephew and Trustee, Dr John Watt OBE, who will talk about the artist and the continuing work of the Trust. The event is open to all, but if you’d like to come along, please RSVP your attendance on 01387 262084.

Councillor McAughtrie said; “This is wonderful opportunity to again enjoy the work of one of our best loved artists, and hear about his legacy and the work of the ASW Trust which is helping to inspire and educate a new generation.”

‘Archie in Oil’ runs in Gallery 2 until 11 April – for more details and to find out about the gallery talk, painting classes for adults and kids, please give Gracefield a ring on 01387 262084, visit the website or see us on Facebook.

In Gallery 1, this year’s Gracefield Spring Fling exhibition features work by some of the Spring Fling young artists.

Over the last 3 years Spring Fling has been offering bursaries to young artists to support them in their burgeoning careers, supported by funding from the Archie Sutter Watt Trust and the Holywood Trust. Gracefield is delighted to showcase the talents of Dumfries & Galloway based artists: Katie Anderson, Terri Campbell, Holly Clothier, Fraser Irvine, Rory Laycock and Emma Kerr. The exhibition will showcase painting, installation, textiles and jewellery and also feature the talents of very young artists with the Spring Fling poster competition. The official Spring Fling Open Studios 2015 poster has been designed by a Dumfries and Galloway primary school pupil, Kirsty Dougan, P7 Springholm Primary. Kirsty’s poster will be printed and distributed around the UK and along with the two runners up and school winners. Spring Fling Young artists will run from 28 February – 4 April and all are welcome to join us for the opening on Saturday 28th 2-4pm.

Admission is free and our opening hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm.