Two experienced artists have been commissioned to work with townsfolk to express their hopes of a better future for Dumfries High Street.
Hannah Fox and Kate Drummond will be speaking to people of all ages and backgrounds about the community’s aspirations and determination to succeed.
Those conversations will use an art-based approach to inspire and highlight the issues around high street regeneration which Midsteeple Quarter are working to turnaround, particularly by showcasing the new phase one building.
This will lead to a new name being chosen for the building being built at 135-139 High Street, which will contain new homes and enterprise spaces on the site of the former Baker’s Oven – a site which had been decaying for years before being taken into community ownership by Midsteeple Quarter.
The arts project has been commissioned by Midsteeple Quarter, working alongside Dumfries and Galloway-based art and craft organisation Upland. Funding has been provided by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.
Hannah and Kate have both previously worked in Dumfries and regularly collaborate to create bold, exciting, warm, playful and beautiful works in the public realm.
Cumbria-based Hannah is a freelance visual artist, designer and project director. After growing up ‘on the road’ with radical theatre collective Welfare State International and graduating from Glasgow School of Art, she has worked internationally with communities and in landscape for 30 years. Utilising many art forms, from film to construction, projection to publication, she seeks ways to engage, celebrate and mark people and place, meaning and memory.
Kate is a freelance community builder, visual artist and cultural producer, based in Glasgow. She has worked across the UK devising, facilitating and producing community-led arts and social projects; working closely with people in community settings to make inspirational place-based work in the public realm and produce imaginative, inclusive, meaningful and friendly cultural events that bring people together. Kate’s artistic practice encompasses many art forms including large-scale public murals, signage, installations within townscapes, live performance, billboards, newspapers, film and community events.
Midsteeple Quarter Executive Director Scott Mackay said: “We’re delighted to be working with Hannah and Kate – and extremely excited to see what their work leads to.
“There’s so much to look forward to from what we are working with our community to achieve. We all want a fairer, stronger, more sustainable town centre. We are sure the community engagement and artwork will reflect the positivity surrounding our vision and work.”
The £7.2m transformation of 135-139 High Street is due for completion in spring next year. Once complete, it will be home to enterprise space at ground level and part of the first floor as well as seven flats on its upper floors.
It is being funded by the Scottish Government, South of Scotland Enterprise, Dumfries & Galloway Council, the Holywood Trust and Dumfries High Street Limited (trading as Midsteeple Quarter).