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Shetland Arts is pleased to announce that it has been successful in gaining another year of funding for the popular annual Visual Art and Craft Award scheme.

Over the past six years, the scheme has awarded £88,000 to Shetland based visual and craft artists, at all stages of their creative careers. The Award scheme supports Shetland artists and makers in their creative, professional and economic development. The award scheme is funded by Shetland Arts in partnership with Creative Scotland and Shetland Islands Council Economic Development and is part of a Creative Scotland national award scheme

Vivian Vivian Ross-Smith
Vivian Vivian Ross-Smith

Vivian Ross-Smith graduated from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen last year and has returned home to Shetland to focus on her artwork, feeling that ‘there is a good art scene in Shetland’. Vivian was successful in applying for a Visual Art and Craft Award in 2013, which contributed towards her costs in creating work for an exhibition shown at Da Gadderie, Shetland Museum and Archives, in February of this year. This was her first major show since her degree show.

She said: “Without the Visual Art and Craft Award, I would not have been able to spend the research time or afford the materials and tools to create a new body of work. Art materials are expensive, and when you leave art school, you lose all the facilities you’ve had access to during your degree. It was great to get the Award from Shetland Arts which enabled me to buy equipment and materials that have continued beyond the period of my Award and will contribute towards my practice in the future.”

Some of the work created through the Award scheme is being showcased in the Lower Gallery café area at Bonhoga from 26 July – 7 September through a celebratory exhibition of work created by 15 recipients, including Vivian Ross-Smith, of a Visual Art and Craft Award, or of the previous Award schemes, the Working-Up Award and the Visual Artist Award from 2008 to 2014. As is evident in the exhibition, a huge variety of work and media are supported, which is testament to the creativity that abounds in Shetland.

Clair Aldington, Visual Arts Development Officer for Shetland Arts, who co-ordinates the Visual Art and Craft Award scheme said: “The Visual Art and Craft Award scheme is invaluable in the support and developmental opportunities it offers to Shetland’s many talented artists and makers. We have seen that, even small amounts of money can make a huge difference in an artist or maker’s practice and, in some cases, has led to an artist making permanent changes in their working life in order to spend more time concentrating on their creative work and trying to make more of a living from it. The creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors in the Scottish economy and this scheme further enables that growth. We are grateful to our co-funders, Creative Scotland and Shetland Islands Council, who make this Award scheme possible in Shetland.”

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