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Where the Wild Things Are

October 21, 2009

It’s been an interesting week for the Outreach Team – from a recruitment drive for a surreal stampede through the streets of Crieff last Saturday, to speaking at a GEM (Group for Education in Museums) event at the newly opened Trongate 103 building in Glasgow on Thursday. We have also been busy pouring over our plans for Portrait of the Nation Live, our programme of exciting outreach projects that will take us up to and beyond the Portrait Gallery’s re-opening in 2011.

 Crieff Wild Rovers    Crieff Wild Rovers

The Crieff Stampede is part of Wild Rovers, a Parallel Lives  project in conjunction with Perth and Kinross Council which will vividly take the the town’s ‘droving’ past to a new future. Taking into account Crieff”s historical importance as a market town for cattle traders from the Highlands, we have been showing people around the town two reproduction paintings by Victorian artist Peter Graham.

DSCF4381 (2) stampede resized

Crieff Wild Rovers in front of Peter Graham, Wandering Shadows, 1878 © NGS 2009

 Wandering Shadows (currently hanging in the National Gallery of Scotland) and Moorland Rovers  (currently in storage at Perth Museum) represent a dark, mystical and exotic version of the Scottish higlands. With Wild Rovers, we are updating this idea and encouraging participants to look at their town through fresh eyes to see what the future could be.

The Crieff Stampede event takes place on the 12th December at 11.30am from the Market Square down to the new community campus, so if you’re in the area come down and join in, masks and flags provided…

Crieff Wild Rovers

Trongate 103 opened in Glasgow six weeks ago and is an amalgamation of several cultural organisations. The building is vast, with beautiful gallery and studio spaces – well worth a visit, particularly for the fantastic John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins show currently on at Streetlevel Photoworks. We were given a tour around the building by my predecessor Janice Sharp, now working as Arts Development Officer with a remit to work with the organisations within the new building and beyond. The GEM event also featured speakers from Streetlevel and Tramway, all of us discussing our varying approaches to community engagement and attempting to answer questions such as: What constitutes a community?, Who are these ‘communities’? and Why would they want to work with us in the first place?

On the way to the train station we stopped for a drink in the bar across from The Lighthouse, looking fairly sad and dark with it’s missing ‘G’, it threw the vulnerability of arts organisations in Scotland into perspective. I hope Trongate 103 manages to last the 120 years the Portrait Gallery has and can continue to provide Glasgow with the high quality resource and experience it currently does.

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