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Joining forces: Spring Fling x Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival

This year, the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival (DGAF) and Spring Fling Open Studios festival have teamed up to offer an arts and cultural extravaganza, with 200 high-quality events, activities and performances all across the the region in May and early June (2019).

The DGAF festival’s live performances take place at theatres, village and town halls, arts centres and pubs across the Dumfries and Galloway region.

Spring Fling studio visitors will be able to meet professional artists and makers who create high quality ceramics, furniture, glassware, jewellery, painting, printmaking and textiles.

We spoke to the event team to find out more about this unique partnership.

How are Spring Fling and Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival coming together?

We have launched a two-year drive to let people across Scotland, the rest of the UK, and overseas know just how much we offer in high quality performance, visual arts and craft. This will include producing a fold-out map (also available online) showing what’s going on and where this year.

The Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival has 50 performances over ten days (from 24 May - 2 June) in venues across the region. Spring Fling’s main weekend (25 - 27 May) will see 94 studios throw open their doors – and there will be workshops, special events and public art.

Together, we are offering more than 200 opportunities to enjoy everything from theatre, dance, music, comedy and spoken word to painting, pottery, printmaking, jewellery, textiles, woodwork and public art.

Thanks to our support from Dumfries and Galloway Council we will also have an Arts Pass competition and are running promotional videos, joint advertising and much more.

In essence, we are doing all we can to shout about how, in late May and early June, the region is alive with cultural activities for all tastes and ages.

What would you like audiences to take away from visiting the area?

Fond memories and a desire to return would be good. People are often surprised by Dumfries and Galloway - its vitality, creativity and tremendous natural beauty.

We want audiences to realise that creative organsations in rural regions such as Dumfries and Galloway have a lot to offer, just like as our urban counterparts.

It’s also a place that is working hard to nurture locally-based emerging talent.

What about the area’s culture and creativity is this initiative wanting to highlight?

This is a region of phenomenal artistic and cultural riches – we want people to know that they can come to this amazing, very rural part of Scotland, and enjoy a very wide variety of high quality art and culture.

Local lore has it that there are more artists per head in Dumfries and Galloway than anywhere else in Scotland. It certainly feels that way.

It has a long coastline and a small population and is characterised by small towns, villages and remote farms and cottages. Despite (or perhaps because) of this it feels like there’s creativity round every corner.

So there’s an abundance of artists, makers, studios and galleries plus a whole range of performers and venues. All this comes to the fore each year with the Spring Fling and the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival.

Do you have particular events and studios you’d like to highlight?

Goodness, where to start – here’s just a few: the opening event for the arts festival is Lost at Sea. It’s a phenomenal play on its world premiere tour, by Scottish writer Morna Young and was inspired by the death 30 years ago of her fisherman father.

We have comedy from Lucy Porter, the soul sounds of Ruby Turner, gig theatre with the five-star (Scotsman) Electrolyte, Edinburgh Fringe hit show Team Viking, pop-up opera from Scottish Opera and Home & Horizon featuring the Scottish Ensemble – and the likes of harpist Wendy Stewart. Theatre lovers will also enjoy Sue McCormick’s Wild as the White Waves.

Spring Fling has 93 studios taking part, all selected for the quality of their work and their offering to event visitors, so it’s hard to pick out individuals. We do however have 13 new studios taking part and new talent taking part through our Emerge and New Graduate schemes.

Why does creativity matter?

It’s the vital spark – the capacity to express the full range of human experience and emotion. Without creativity life would be pretty bleak. Why it matters is worth thinking about when you look at the pictures on your wall, put flowers in a lovely vase, listen to a song or recall a line of poetry.

And it’s something to think about again as you choose what jewellery, clothes and accessories to wear before heading to the theatre – or to hear a band in a pub.

This article was published on 16 May 2019