The outstanding achievement and service of two of its longest serving members was recognised at a recent meeting of the Kirkcudbright 2000 Committee. Presentations to Joe Campbell and John Dinning on their retirement from the Committee were made by the group’s ‘Champion’ Sir Malcolm Ross. Joe served as Chairman and John as Treasurer, in both cases from the group’s inception in 1999. Both men were key to the successful production and management of the series of 15 highly popular summer art exhibitions in Kirkcudbright Town Hall, beginning with ‘The Homecoming’ in 2000, to ‘The Airdrie Boys’ in 2015, and including the remarkable ‘Monet and the Impressionists’ in 2005 which attracted over 62,000 visits in two months.
The exhibition series pressed the case for the establishment of a major art gallery in Kirkcudbright. Visitor numbers clearly demonstrated the demand for high-quality art exhibitions in the town and the economic benefits which follow from the attraction of extra visitors to the town and region in the summer months. This led to an eventual partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council, and resulted in the building project currently underway to convert Kirkcudbright Town Hall into the Kirkcudbright Galleries, planned to open early next year.
Very appropriately, Joe Campbell was presented with an original drawing of Kirkcudbright Town Hall made by Committee members Ian and Claire Cameron-Smith, showing how it might look as the Kirkcudbright Galleries. John Dinning was presented with a bottle of specially blended whisky from Annandale Distillery, and Sheila Campbell and Wilma Dinning with bouquets.