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November 4, 2009

Community move to tART up derelict buildings

Earlier this year armed with cameras supplied by the local development trust, residents of Banff and Macduff set about recording which bits of their community they liked, and which bits they didn’t like. It turns out a number of derelict buildings topped the list of local eyesores. Local visual arts festival, Coast, think they have come up with a solution

John Thomson

The first stage has been completed in a move to recruit artists for an ambitious north-east project to create art at run-down properties.

A Scottish Arts Council grant of £15,472 has been awarded to the Coast visual arts festival for a temporary art initiative at Banff and Macduff.

The scheme will involve efforts to see if derelict buildings can be made more attractive through art so they can enhance the area instead of bringing it down.

Coast festival organisers hope to appoint two artists before the end of the year to take on the job.

Chairman Bryan Angus said: “We now have a brief drawn up for the project and we are on the point of issuing it.

“Given the commission, we expect responses from artists nationwide and, hopefully, we can have two appointed before Christmas.”

The project is called Living Spaces and two run-down properties, one at Banff and one at Macduff, will be chosen.

Work the artists will do on the buildings will form a major part of next year’s Coast festival.

The initiative has developed from a photographic campaign run by the new community trust at Banff and Macduff.

It issued the public with cameras this year to take pictures of good and bad aspects of the twin towns and the results showed that derelict and run-down properties were a major dislike.

The trust is making a survey of boarded-up buildings from which it is planned that two will be chosen for the Coast project.

Local people will be able to play a part by participating in workshops the artists will organise.

Community trust operations and development manager Fiona Poustie said the Living Spaces project was a first step in tackling the problem of derelict buildings.

The trust photographic project has the long-term aim of trying to get such properties either tidied up or re-occupied.

Mrs Poustie said: “I can’t wait to see the transformation of the buildings chosen at Coast 2010 next May.