Spring Fling Marks 15th Anniversary

Scotland’s premier open studios weekend turns 15 and takes art, craft and design from Dumfries and Galloway to the Cotwolds

The first details have been revealed of Spring Fling 2017, one of the brightest events in Scotland’s arts and cultural calendar.

The country’s premier open studios visual arts and craft open studios weekend will have 93 participating artists, makers and designers who will exhibit all across Dumfries and Galloway from 27-29 May.

Before then it will showcase a selection of work for an entirely new audience at a carefully curated exhibition called Outpost | Spring Fling at New Brewery Arts. This is being run in collaboration with New Brewery Arts in Cirencester, the capital of the Cotswolds, from 25 March to 14 May.

As 2017 is Spring Fling’s 15th year it also plans a birthday exhibition at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries from 22 April to 13 May. This will celebrate the event from a visitor’s perspective, looking at where works are now, how they have shaped people’s lives and homes and highlighting the relationship between artist and collector.

Spring Fling is a success story for the arts and the region. It began in 2003 with 1,347 visitors and earned £57,600 for the regional economy. By 2016 there were 13,500 unique visitors (more than half from outwith the area) who contributed £1.5m to the Dumfries and Galloway economy.

Joanna Macaulay, Upland’s Events and Exhibitions Manager, said: “Our 15th birthday will be a special year for us and a chance to look at how Spring Fling has blossomed to become the premier event of its kind in Scotland.

“Something we value enormously is the strength of support we get from within the region. But the other side of Spring Fling is that is a highly effective way of drawing the attention of the wider world to the wonderful work created in Dumfries and Galloway.

“In 2017 we are very much looking forward to taking a selection of work by Spring Fling artists, makers and designers to another beautiful rural area, when we hold our exhibition in Cirencester.”

New Brewery Arts is right in the heart of one of England’s most picturesque and historic towns. It specialises in showcasing the best from the Cotswolds while also seeking out new, unusual and high quality work from elsewhere in the UK and beyond.

Beth Alden, New Brewery Arts CEO, said: “This is a really exciting partnership; both organisations are based in exceptionally beautiful countryside, and both regions foster a real community of independent makers. To see how these similarities manifest themselves in physical, hand-made work is going to be facinating.”

As ever the exhibitors for the Spring Fling open studios weekend have all been specially selected for their quality. Among them will be 15 who have never taken part before.

While most are people who live and work in Dumfries and Galloway there will be seven Springbacks – each with a strong connection to the area but currently based elsewhere.

There is also the Neighbours scheme through which artists and makers from adjoining areas are invited to take part. In 2017 we are delighted that this will include people from Ayrshire, The Borders, Cumbrian and Northern Ireland.

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