Tuesday, 10 December 2013

What exactly did Art in Healthcare get up to at the 2013 Edinburgh Art Fair?

Outreach Manager, Amelia Calvert, gives a brief overview of the event..
AiH's stall by the main entrance
Writing from the comfort of my desk with a cup of tea beside me is a far cry from what was the bustle of the Edinburgh Art Fair (EAF) four weeks ago! Art in Healthcare’s (AiH) presence over the course of the 3-day weekend was nothing but action-packed with little time for sitting drinking tea and, due to the fun buzz of the occasion, nor did I wish to be doing so. Contrarily I felt that as an AiH employee helping to oversee our various activities and volunteers it was a real privilege to be in attendance at the event. The EAF in itself was clearly a massive undertaking in terms of the coordination of hundreds of different individuals and organisations so a huge well done to Andy and Lorna McDougall who masterminded and oversaw the project in its’ entirety.
One of the children's workshops in the foreground and Jacqueline Watt's demonstration in the background
So what exactly was AiH’s role there? Largely to provide a range of workshops for children, painting demonstrations and talks for adults, plus the opportunity for visitors to buy some of our prestigious prints and to learn about the services we provide as an organisation. Additionally, we put up for sale a selection of artwork by those artists from our Collection who had been involved in AiH’s workshops and talks programme at the EAF, hereby supporting local artists with their own endeavours.

In order for all of our activities to take place, we had a superb team of volunteers and interns who were well briefed in advance about their various roles throughout the EAF, albeit helping with the workshops, manning our information stand, helping with the sales of our artworks, taking photographs and video footage and generally being on hand for miscellaneous tasks. Their help was invaluable and enabled us to have the successful presence at the EAF that we did.
One happy family of participants from the art workshops!
The childrens’ workshops were particularly successful with artist Leo du Feu barely drawing breath through each of his 3 per day 1hr long sessions that he ran. With thanks to Great Art for generously donating all of the art materials used throughout the weekend, the results were a wide selection of colourful, lively and imaginative creations that the children could take home, probably for sticking on the kitchen fridge! Jacqueline Watt and Alan McGowan both ran fascinating, if very different to each other, painting demonstrations relating to their own individual practice, and captivated their audiences with their skills and creativity. Kate Downie gave a talk about the influence of bridges in her art, which attracted a large number of listeners and myself and Trevor, AiH’s Director, gave talks with insights into different themes relating to our work for AiH. Meanwhile, Damian Callan created a magnificent ‘Art in Motion’ over the course of the weekend - essentially a gigantic artwork he drew of the EAF at the EAF, which is to be sold with all proceeds going directly to AiH.
Damian Callan's 'Art in Motion' - one giant artwork of the EAF created over the weekend
With over 12,000 people pouring through the doors over the 3 days of the EAF, a record number of visitors surpassing all previous years, we felt sure that AiH had been given a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness about themselves and gather momentum for the year of 2014 lying not far ahead. We also felt a distinct ‘cameraderie’ between ourselves - volunteers, interns, staff members and artists, and everyone else – other galleries, visitors and organising staff. What a great feat to put on such a feast for the eyes with all that artwork on display and with such a jolly atmosphere. We are greatly looking forward to next year already to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the EAF…

You can watch a film about AiH’s involvement at the EAF by clicking heremade by one of our volunteers, Will Murray Brown. 

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