Region’s art groups praised at Stranraer convention

Janet Archer
Janet Archer

More than 130 artists and organisations gathered at the Ryan Centre in Stranraer on Wednesday for an annual Arts Convention.

Reflecting on what has been achieved in the six months since DGUnlimited was registered as a charity, the gathering heard about its ongoing work and discussed the future.

Janet Archer, Creative Scotland CEO, praised DG Unlimited as an example of what can be achieved when the arts sector works together.

After a successful 2014, DG Unlimited is looking ahead to a new phase of growth and development as it works to champion Dumfries and Galloway’s creative industries.

Keynote speakers included Cathy Agnew, Chair of the Board of Trustees, who said: “There has been much to celebrate and a great deal to learn. Despite being such a young organisation, and one that is based on an entirely new model of arts leadership, we have been successful in raising the profile of the region’s vibrant creative sector.

“DG Unlimited has also done a great deal to support artists, arts bodies, communities and events across the region. This is central to our work to maximise the impact of the arts, create new opportunities for artists and audiences and attract visitors to support the economic regeneration of south-west Scotland.

“The arts currently face a great deal of uncertainty but they are vital to our culture, community and economy.

“Here in Dumfries and Galloway we are determined to work together to build a positive future – making the wider world aware of the excellence of our artists, performers, events, festivals, environmental art and everything else we have to offer.”

Janet Archer, CEO of Creative Scotland, was welcomed as a special guest at the convention – her second visit to the region following a whistestop tour in summer which was facilitated by DGU.

Ms Archer said: “Creative Scotland is committed to supporting the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland.

“DG Unlimited is a powerful example of what can happen when the arts community across a large, rural region, comes together to deliver huge benefits for communities through creativity. Long may this continue.”

The convention saw presentations and also performances by up and coming young musician Zoe Bestel, BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Robyn Stapleton, Alex McQuiston of Absolute Classics and Zelda Hill of Gretna Music School.