The exhibition at Winchburgh Bowling club, brought together members of the community to see examples from their art workshops over the past six months and mark the end of the artist’s residency with the launch of a free ArtWays Winchburgh activity booklet which provides lots of creative tips for becoming an ‘art explorer’.
The ArtWays project led by Winchburgh Developments Limited, West Lothian Council and Winchburgh Development Trust, is an engagement programme designed to bring out the creative side of the Winchburgh community and is part of the ongoing Public Art Strategy for Winchburgh. Over 120 people of all ages took part in the workshops over a six-month period between March to October 2022.
Opening the exhibition, Gill said: “It is really uplifting to see everyone sharing fond memories of creating these artworks together over the past few months. Inspired by Winchburgh’s strong sense of community, the diversity of its landscape and everyone’s active enthusiasm for their local green spaces these colourful displays of creativity reflect a sense of joy and pride. Each workshop was designed for all ages to take part, celebrating a community that is growing with a shared interest to explore and nurture the evolving green havens that make Winchburgh a green gateway for West Lothian adventures.”
Penny Lochhead, Community Sports and Greenspace Manager at Winchburgh Developments Ltd, as one of the partners on the project. She said: “We’re delighted to celebrate with Gill today. She has given us the perfect platform to move on to the next phase of our ‘Big W’ art plan. With many more artworks planned over the coming years, these public art projects are a really important and fun way to mark progress on site, bring together communities old and new, and showcase Winchburgh’s rich heritage. A favourite moment for me has been watching the school pupils proudly carrying their brightly decorated flags to ‘stake their claim’ on Auldcathie play park. It’s lovely to see these spaces coming to life through art.”
Hazel McLeod from the Winchburgh Community Development Trust, partner in the process, added: “It’s been great to be part of these creative projects bringing together our community in fun and engaging ways through activities which help people meet new people using art as the connection and inspiration to get involved. It was great to see Gill work with the Good Companions Group in the village and bring their creations to life in the form of printed scarves for the ladies and ties for the men in the group.”
ArtWays is one of five public art projects being delivered over the coming years through Winchburgh’s ‘Big W’ Public Art Plan, which is being managed by West Lothian Council ‘s Arts Officer, Camile Archer. The plan sets out a vision for how public art can help shape Winchburgh’s expansion and aims to reflect a sense of place, the changing nature of the community as well as the local heritage and the aspirations of the residents for the future.
Camille reflected on the residency process: “It has been nice to see lots of people of all ages involved from nursery up to the elderly in the community and it has been great to see many people become more creative and try their hand at something new. We look forward to building on this in the New Year as we continue to the next stage our programme of public art projects with community workshops to come. The partnership thanks Gill for her time in Winchburgh.”
As part of the legacy from the Artist in Residence we will see a mural reflecting the community and its landscape on the path as people enter the centre of the Auldcathie Park. The activity booklet for use by groups and schools has been produced by Gill and is available to downloaded here and on the West Lothian Council web site.