Cairngorms National Park

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Creative arts competition inspired by Badenoch

26th February 2019

An exciting new creative arts competition launched today by the Badenoch Heritage Project: Bringing the Past to the 21st Century is set to help transform how heritage tourism is developed in the Highlands. In collaboration with the Society of Badenoch and Strathspey Artists (SBSA) the partnership project aim to inspire new artworks that will promote cultural heritage in the Cairngorms to an international audience, through a process of co-design with the community. The art contest is open to anyone with an interest in Badenoch and will celebrate the inspirational cultural heritage of Badenoch, a special historic region in the UK’s largest National Park.

The organisers, which include the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and Voluntary Action in Badenoch and Strathspey (VABS), are setting entrants the challenge of creating iconic artworks inspired by the unique highland culture of the Cairngorms. The theme will cast a spotlight on the area’s history, ancient places, inspirational landscapes, traditional music and verse to country pursuits, farming, living communities and sporting heritage. The competition contributes to the project’s overarching aims to involve more people in deciding how the great historic regions of the Cairngorms are promoted and managed.

Entrants will be able to enter one piece of work on the theme of the Culture of Badenoch in the medium of their choice, including painting, photography, textiles, sculpture, video or installations. Entry is free and all the entries will be judged to select a series of prizewinning works, including a main 1st prize of art supplies worth £500. The competition is also open to all adults, whether living in the Cairngorms or elswhere. Local school pupils will also have the opportunity to be involved through primary schools in Badenoch and the students at Kingussie High School, with school age categories including P1-4, P5-7, S1-3 and S4-6.

The difficult task of selecting the winning entries will be undertaken by a distinguished panel of judges who will be looking for the most striking and best works to promote the special highland heritage and culture of the area. A new exhibition of all the successful entries is due to be hosted at the Iona Gallery in Kingussie between 20 – 31 August, where the public will be asked to choose a ‘people’s choice’ winner from among the exhibited works. The winning entrees will then be displayed during September as part of a touring exhibition throughout Badenoch.

The innovative project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Great Places Scheme through a grant awarded to the CNPA. The funding is being used to help promote the great places and heritage attractions on offer in the Badenoch region of the National Park.

David Fallows, Chair of SBSA said: “We are delighted to be working with the Badenoch Heritage Project and the Park Authority on this great opportunity to inspire new creative works and help promote the local area. Whether you are an established artist or just like to dabble in the visual arts, your work is welcome. This is an ideal way to encourage everyone to think about what makes Badenoch and the Cairngorms National Park such a great historic place to live, work in and visit.”

Dr. Oliver O’Grady, Project Officer for the Badenoch Great Place Project with VABS said: “We’re thrilled to have the support of SBSA in delivering what promises to be a once-in-a generation opportunity, to get more people involved in telling Badenoch’s story through creative arts. We can’t wait to see the entries from everyone, of all ages; this is going to be special.”

The competition is one of several activities run by the project to help find the best ways to promote Badenoch’s cultural heritage as a unique part of the Scottish Highlands and the Cairngorms National Park. It follows a consultation survey for which local communities and visitors were asked for their views on what they think is best about Badenoch in terms of a destination to visit. The results of the study are contributing to scoping new options for how to promote and market the area with the aim of helping develop a shared vision for local tourism attractions, business owners and tour operators. Winners of the art competition will be able to join in this effort by having their unique creations incorporated as part of the new promotional drive.

For more information about how to enter and receive an application form please email: artcomp@vabs.org.uk or entry forms can also be downloaded from the SBSA website. The competition will close to entries in July with the winners exhibited throughout August and September. The Badenoch Heritage Project continues until 2020 and is supported with a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.