Part 9a - Aberdeen and the Art Community

So for anyone following or just glancing over the previous blog posts you'll see that its chronicled the journey and will soon be up to date! 

But for now i thought it was worth doing a wee post to add to the discussion on Art in the city. So here goes.

As some of you might know i attended an event the other night called Art Hive - this is a forum for creatives of all levels to exchange ideas, inspire each other and provide support. I did a wee presentation on Doric Skateboards focusing on how it came to be and what i felt my place was in the creative world. Its great to be involved and see the discussions happening in our City. One question that was asked was:

Is Art the New Oil? 

Its not a question with an easy answer and its a question that goes off on tangents. The last few years in Aberdeen have been well documented in terms of the negative impact the Oil/Gas Industry has had but alongside that decline we've seen a real surge in the arts and culture of the city.

As expressed by Rachael Cloughton in this article (https://www.list.co.uk/article/96644-after-the-oil-boom-and-bust-could-art-save-aberdeen/):

"In 2013 Aberdeen failed in its bid to become UK City of Culture 2017. The judges told the council their plans lacked 'a coherent vision' or a 'wow factor'. It was, according to council leaders, a 'wake up call'."

And wake up it did. Now some of these things may already have been on the agenda and some weren't but its been the cumulative effect of these things that has invigorated our city:

  • Look Again - celebrating the best in visual art and design.
  • NuArt - spectacular and returning next year and beyond. I've never seen such diverse crowds walking around Aberdeens streets. 
  • Spectra -  stunning event and returning in 2018 to celebrate young people.
  • The Anatomy Rooms - a beautiful venue that provides a creative hub.
  • Seventeen - another creative hub that hosts Make and events such at Art Hive.
  • Creative Learning - ACC team coordinates classes and events all over the city with accessible and varied topics.
  • Painted Doors - a fantastic project that saw doors in Aberdeen painted by selected artists to bring some life to the streets.
  • Revamp of the Art Gallery - looking forward to this. Bit by bit we can see the revamp.
  • Revamp of the Music Hall - like the one below, may have caused concern amongst some but this should be great for the city.
  • Marishcall Square development - now this one has caused a stir. But at this point we have no choice but to go with it and see how it pans out. Better than we had before? I think it will be. As good as we wanted it to be? Perhaps not.
  • Union Terrace Gardens development - hopefully this should be the happy medium that will keep people happy and provide a space for all.
  • Aberdeen Football Club - i'm adding this to the list as the general feel good of the teams efforts has infiltrated the city again and even inspired a fantastic art project that saw AFC players past and present replicated on the streets of Aberdeen.

Now this is just the ones i could think of off the top of my head. There are more, loads more. Aberdeen has success stories that don't revolve around Oil and Gas. The more thats celebrated and discussed the more the people of the city will feel empowered to take part and chase dreams. 

So is Art the new Oil? 

Its certainly more sustainable.

But the more relevant question could be:

Can Art be the new anything in Aberdeen. I think the answers obvious.