30 November 2017back

Art installation captures unique ‘energy’ of Scottish community foundation

A new art installation was last night (29th November) unveiled at a special event in Edinburgh marking the culmination of an ‘artist in residency’ programme designed to embed creativity into business and encourage skills sharing between the sectors.

Over the last six months, Dumfriesshire-born artist Natasha Russell has been in residence at the Edinburgh office of independent charity Foundation Scotland learning about its people, the projects it funds, and its ambitions and priorities with the aim of creating a holistic and permanent visual representation of the organisation as part of Scottish charity Arts & Business Scotland’s ‘Creativity at Work – Artist in Residency Programme’.

The unique installation, entitled ‘Murmurations’,  has transformed a neutral room into an inspirational and stimulating event space by bringing together snippets of imagery which reflect various aspects of Foundation Scotland and the projects it supports. Supported by The Gateway Exchange Trust and William Grant Foundation, the installation has been created through linocut printing onto thin, strong Japanese paper, which is then printed in tiles of various sizes and mounted directly on the wall.

The ‘Creativity at Work – Artist in Residency Programme’ is managed by Arts & Business Scotland and funded via Creative Scotland. Natasha’s installation is the final project to be completed as part of the initial Creativity at Work programme, which has now ended. Due to its success and the positive impacts the residencies have had on those businesses and staff engaged, Arts & Business Scotland plans to launch a renewed Creativity at Work programme in January 2018.

Previous residencies delivered as part of the existing programme have included placing acclaimed playwright Stuart Delves in residence with haggis manufacturer Macsween to produce a theatre play about the story of Scotland’s national dish, which went on to be performed as part of Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe in 2014. Other residencies have included placing photographer Michael Murray with Glasgow business space Skypark; writer Rona Barbour with Dundee based engineering firm Rautomead Limited; artist Catriona Taylor with Dunfermline based paint-producing company Craig & Rose; and successful crime writer, journalist and musician Doug Johnstone with William Purves funeral director.

The Creativity at Work programme seeks to encourage creative thinking in business at a time when creativity is rising quickly up the agenda of business board rooms in this country and internationally. Published last year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Future of Jobs report predicts that creativity is set to become the third most important skill for businesses by 2020.

Born in 1989, Natasha Russell graduated in painting from Edinburgh College of Art in 2013 and has since been working as a printmaking technician and artist.

Commenting on the residency with Foundation Scotland and the finished installation, Natasha Russell said:

“I wanted to develop a piece of artwork that captured Foundation Scotland’s energy and one which incorporated elements from every facet of the organisation. Through conversations with funders, community groups and members of staff, I learned about the different processes and values existing at work within the organisation and began to develop drawings and designs to reflect the patterns. I wanted to develop something that could be both a site-specific installation but also something that could be owned by some of the many individuals and groups linked to the Foundation who are spread across Scotland. Working with the idea of murmurations, the formations of starlings moving as huge and dynamic groups, I cut and collaged together linocuts prints to create a wall piece that aims to reflect the varied and fluid yet supportive structure of Foundation Scotland.”

Charmaine Ferris, Head of Philanthropy at Foundation Scotland said:

“Natasha’s artwork has beautifully captured the various different strands of Foundation Scotland and the projects we support. One of the things that I love most is how people can read into it however they want; different people see different stories in each of the images. As the community foundation for Scotland, we are delighted that staff in our diverse teams as well as Trustees, donors and grantees have been able to engage with Natasha to inspire her artwork distilling the essence of our work. “

Carl Watt, Head of Programmes at Arts & Business Scotland added:

“Natasha’s work is a great example of the Creativity at Work programme in practice. With creativity rising consistently up the agenda of board rooms as a crucial skill for future success, the benefits of collaboration between business and creatives has never been more clear-cut. With our new programme due for launch early in 2018, I hope that we can help support many more successful partnerships between business and the creative sector.”

If you are a business and are interested in the Creativity at Work programme please contact Carl Watt at Arts & Business Scotland on 0131 556 3353. You can read Natasha’s blog here: https://foundationscotland-air.tumblr.com/

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