New arts convener for region

New arts convener, Kathleen O'Neill.
New arts convener, Kathleen O'Neill.

The appointment of the first ever Regional Arts Convenor for Dumfries and Galloway will strengthen the area’s creative sector, it was claimed this week.

The role is a vital element in plans to give the the region’s arts sector far more say over its own future and provide it with the skilled professional support it needs to achieve its objectives.

During the 21-month contract the new convener, Kathleen O’Neill, is commissioned to work with artists and organisations to support a programme of events and projects which will further promote the region as a centre of creativity.

For the past year she has been the project manager for the Fresh Start for the Arts initiative which was set up to transform strategic arts leadership in the region.

Kathleen said: “Through Fresh Start, I learned what an amazingly creative place Scotland has in Dumfries and Galloway. I rapidly fell in love with the region, the quality of life here and the quality of its arts and want to do all I can to help embed the new structure. Moving from Consultant to Convenor presents a wholly different perspective, with exciting new challenge to build on recommendations made.

“I will now have the privilege of being able to support and link artists, organisations and partnerships that share a driving ambition to nurture the arts, make them accessible to new audiences, and to help put a national and international spotlight on all we have to offer.”

Kathleen, who has many years of experience in professional arts development across Scotland, the UK and overseas is also a practicing visual artist.

Fresh Start for the Arts was set up by DGAP and funded by Creative Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council and LEADER.