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Thurso Art Gallery returns from oblivion and hosts special winter-themed show – 'I take my hat off to them,' says local MP


By David G Scott

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Davidson's Lane in Thurso was buzzing on Friday afternoon as the Society of Caithness Artists (SCA) hosted a special show that saw a redundant gallery brought back to life.

Over 50 people turned up – including the local MP, a Thurso councillor, numerous guests and, of course, several of the artists exhibiting – to see the art gallery at the back of the town's library brought back to life with a winter-themed show.

MP Jamie Stone (left) and Ian Pearson at the Society of Caithness Artists exhibition in Thurso Gallery. Picture: DGS
MP Jamie Stone (left) and Ian Pearson at the Society of Caithness Artists exhibition in Thurso Gallery. Picture: DGS

Far North MP Jamie Stone said the opening night of SCA's Winter show was a must for his diary and added: "I was aware there was a question mark over the future of this gallery and Ian [Pearson] and his team have done a power of work and here it is – it's reopened.

"I'm a great believer in art being really important to the community. To find this here in Caithness is absolutely excellent and it's a template for what we should be doing in other parts of Scotland. I take my hat off to them all."

MP Jamie Stone speaks at the Society of Caithness Artists exhibition in Thurso Gallery. Picture: DGS
MP Jamie Stone speaks at the Society of Caithness Artists exhibition in Thurso Gallery. Picture: DGS
Over 50 people turned up for the event at Thurso Art Gallery. Picture: DGS
Over 50 people turned up for the event at Thurso Art Gallery. Picture: DGS
Society of Caithness Artists chair Ian Pearson addresses the audience. Picture: DGS
Society of Caithness Artists chair Ian Pearson addresses the audience. Picture: DGS

Mr Stone said the venture was well-timed as he is currently writing his party's arts and culture manifesto for the next election. "Using Thurso as my example, I intend to show exactly what a community can do using art and culture to enrich people's lives."

Chair of SCA, Ian Pearson, was instrumental in setting up discussions with High Life Highland (HLH) to explore alternative options to the long-term closure of Thurso Art Gallery and said: "We all pulled together as a team and worked with High Life Highland with a proposal to have this exhibition. I was very pleased they accepted our proposal and worked with us.

"The important thing to prove is that people in Thurso want art, deserve art, love art and come to visit galleries."

Mr Pearson hopes there will be follow-up shows and that there should be no issues with staffing which was a HLH concern as it aimed to reduce costs.

Society of Caithness Artists chair Ian Pearson (left) and Thurso councillor Ron Gunn. Picture: DGS
Society of Caithness Artists chair Ian Pearson (left) and Thurso councillor Ron Gunn. Picture: DGS

Thurso and Northwest Caithness councillor Ron Gunn also dropped in to lend his support to the reopening of the art gallery and said: "When they pulled the staff it was a worry. I'm really delighted Ian came along and pushed for it to be open again and here is the result."

Winter runs until March 2 next year and is open for visitors every day, at various times, except Sundays.


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