2020 - Before & Ahead

Dec 23rd 2020


Dear reader,

I shall not focus about the year of trials for we have all lived it and felt it and live and feel it still. What I will highlight is the golden moments of hope that have sprung from this year of years. And what hope we have had in amongst the darker days. 

2020 has seen Visual Arts Scotland work harder than ever to deliver opportunities, projects, and support our membership and wider creative community. We are a team of around 15 volunteers and being artists ourselves, knew we needed to help wherever possible to get support out as much as we could. Below this text is a small recap of our work this year and in summary it is a lot! We are proud to have initiated the EAWSF in partnership with some truly great orgs and supporters, to have then gone on to partner with Creative Scotland to deliver government funding to creatives. Combined, we have given out £800,000 to around 550 creatives. On top of this, we have forged new partnerships, cemented old ones, created new online opportunities in Friday Forum and our Graduate Showcase and now F L O W, our online winter exhibition. We have inspiring residencies and exhibitions lined up for 2021, and are so thrilled to be bringing these into being- a pilot year for many new opportunities.

We are growing, we are building on previous work and as we feel our centanery anniversary not so far off, we are challenging ourselves to ask ourself the question: "Are we still useful for creatives today, are we doing enough, and are we supporting our membership and creative community as best we can with our resources?" We hope that you find with our recap below, that we are and at least, we are trying to make sure we are. To partners, members, supporters old, new and current, we thank you for your commitment to our combined work and look forward to our time ahead, where we work in hope, for hope, with you all. 

With best healthy festive wishes and a hopeful New Year,

Sarah (PVAS) and The VAS Team 



VAS Members’ winter show, currently running online throughout December 2020 and January 2021. FLOW has gone off with a bang - we have had positive feedback and several sales already. It is our first online show, in a climate where more and more exhibitions migrate into the virtual by necessity of the pandemic. Although there are certainly limitations to this format, we are proud of this opportunity to create an exhibition in these challenging times which celebrates the talent, skill and resilience of our membership. You can view F L O W and buy artworks directly HERE


2020 RECAP

Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers
Recently we partnered with Creative Scotland to help deliver part of the £5m Creative Freelance Hardship Funding designated by the Scottish Government earlier this year. Our branch of the CS Hardship Fund is now closed for further applications via our system. All applications will from now on be reviewed via Creative Scotland directly and the fund remains open to Visual Artists to seek support there. We have been humbled to have helped hundreds of applicants receive support at this difficult time. It has been an honour to help the creative community in this way and partner with Creative Scotland alongside other brilliant orgs to distribute this government funding.

Emergency Art Workers Support Fund (EAWSF)
Earlier in the year, we launched the Emergency Art Workers Support Fund (EAWSF), a temporary relief fund that aims to support Creative Practitioners who have been impacted by COVID-19. We understood the impact this period of uncertainty would have on the creative community and so gathered orgs to make a pot where £250 micro grants could be given out to those creatives in need. We have had 2 succesful rounds and delivered £30,000 of support to artists. We have a third round we shall open in the Spring of 2021. 
We thank our partners and supporters without whom this would not have been possible: Wilhemina Barnes Graham TrustInches Carr TrustCreative EdinburghDetail FramingCraft ScotlandApplied Arts ScotlandGlasgow Antiques and Fine Arts Society We Are Panel  and anonymous donors. 

A 24-hour online auction held to raise funds for the EAWSF, brought into action by artist member John Ayscough who approached us with the idea. A brilliant, exciting event made possible by the generosity of our supporters including generous artist donations of works and the wonderful bidding by those wishing to support the cause. We thank you all for your act of solidarty to raise funds for the EAWSF. B!D raised an incredible £20,000. 

Friday Forum
We were fortunate enough to collaborate with the incredible team at Creative Informatics to create Friday Forum, a series of free online webinars showcasing a range of folks in the creative industries. Hosted by our President Sarah Calmus and various Creative Informatics representatives, featuring artists across all dicplines and career paths in the creative industries holding studio tours, talks, demos, performances and presentations. You can watch all 12 Forums online HERE !

Visual Arts Scotland were delighted to be invited to show in the Spotlight Area of The Borders Art Fair early this year, showcasing a broad selection of our membership and invited artists. You can read more about artists selected in this BAF Spotlight article HERE.

Grad Showcase
Like all things, our Graduate Showcase had to take a different approach this year. Sadly, degree shows across Scotland could not go ahead due to the COVID 19, with some available online only. We felt strongly as a society that this should not mean our upcoming and emerging talent is denied a chance to show digitally. You can take a look at the wonderful works and graduates HERE.

Creative Edinburgh Awards
 We were absolutely over the moon to be shortlisted for The Creative Edinburgh 2020 Award! We are so greatful our work from our volunteer org was recognised amongst amazing groups, orgs and projects.We didn't win but you can read about who did HERE


Open calls for artists- check our website for more details on each opportunity. 

Marchmont House
We are excited to announce a residency partnership with Marchmont House. There are two residencies that we are working in partnership to deliver, with one in the fantatsic newly constructed Creative Spaces in the Marchmont Estate in the Scottish Borders more details to be announced in 2021.  The other is a fantastically unique residency.  Without Boundaries- a fully funded week at sea on the beautiful catamaran Whimbrel, for two artists to explore the islands and wild coastlines of the West Coast of Scotland. Visual Arts Scotland members can apply to this residency HERE. 

Bothy Project
Another exciting residency in our forthcoming partnership with Bothy Project which will offer a VAS member the opportunity to spend a week-long at the wonderful Sweeney’s Bothy, Isle of Eigg. You can read more about how to apply HERE

An exciting upcoming exhibition in March 2021 at The City Arts Centre in partnership with the Scottish Furniture Makers Association, ADJUST / ADAPT aims to showcase work by Makers, Designers and Artists working in Scotland, reflecting on this recent shift in how we navigate our spaces. You can read more about it and apply HERE

Tatha Gallery - VAS Exhibition
VAS will be holding a month-long show from early October 2021 at Tatha Gallery, Dundee. An open call to members will be issued in Spring 2021.

We also have exciting plans to upgrade our website, a Cornwall- Scotland Exchange residency being planned in the pipeline, we'll be looking for feedback from our membership to make sure we grow together and we have many more wonderful partnerships to continue building with the creative community. Thanks to all who make our work possible.