Glasgow International Festival Of Contemporary Visual Art & Mactaggart & Mickel
Supported and Open Glasgow Programmes
FESTIVALS | VISUAL ARTS
Community & social empowerment | Education & Learning | Equality, diversity & inclusion | International engagement | | Tourism
Innovation and creativity in the heart of Glasgow
Glasgow International is Scotland’s largest festival for contemporary art, taking place every two years across the city. Blending the elements of a major visual arts biennial with an open submission programme for artists and curators based in the city, it is a unique event in the European art calendar.
The festival is known for combining the international and the local, with events and exhibitions taking place in both large scale public venues and smaller, less conventional spaces. This approach is distilled into the Supported and Open Glasgow Programmes, strands of the festival featuring exhibitions and projects that successfully apply for seed funding following an open call out for entries.
In 2018, 43 projects were funded including 21 organisations, 4 independent curators, and 18 artist projects. The average level of support for organisations/curators was £3,265 and for artists £2,000. In addition, all projects received extra support through inclusion in Glasgow International (GI) marketing materials, through PR around the press campaign; and through additional support from the GI team, particularly in securing venues.
In 2018 there was an unprecedented wave of applications for support from Glasgow-based artists, curators and organisations. While this enthusiastic response and the desire to become involved was welcome, the 1,000 plus applications far exceeded the funds available for allocation. This led to a search by GIFCVA for a sponsor in sync with the values and aims of the Festival, who would be both attracted and reassured by the opportunity to secure match funding through CBFS.
A connection made between Andrew Mickel (Group Director) and Glasgow International’s Artistic Advisory Group, led to a meeting to explore a partnership and resulted in the development of a full sponsorship agreement. Property and construction company, Mactaggart & Mickel, are a family-owned firm, operating from Glasgow for nearly a century. With an established reputation for philanthropy (the company runs its own Building Communities Fund for good causes close to their developments) a partnership within the arts, however, was new territory. MacTaggart & Mickel’s commitment to investing in living spaces that are both affordable and of high quality aligned with the Festival’s commitment to invest in artist-led practices and spaces, along with grassroots initiatives. Both partners quickly recognised their shared vision of building on Glasgow’s reputation for integrity, power and vibrancy in its artistic and wider communities, and their shared values of innovation and creativity.
The new partnership enabled the Festival to support more artists and organisations than would have been possible on its public subsidy alone. In the context of increased competition for arts funding, and interest in participating in the Festival far outstripping limited resources, being able to support additional projects was immensely rewarding for both partners. Moreover, funding more ambitious projects had the knock-on effect of raising the profile of emerging artists.
A total of 179,437 attendances were recorded for the Sponsored and Open Programmes, representing 73% of all visits to the Festival during 2018. 97% of visitors rated their festival experience as good or very good with 77% saying they would be likely or very likely to attend again in 2020. Visitors engaging with the project were able to see exhibitions by 252 artists who came from 34 countries and ranged from new emerging artists to new commissions by, for example, the artist Linder at Glasgow Women’s Library and South African collective iQhiya at Transmission.
Following a concerted marketing push, there was a 26% increase in audience visits to this strand of the festival. Having both business and CBFS sponsorship added weight to the Festival, which reached new audiences through the business sponsor’s own networks. Mactaggart & Mickel’s construction expertise and contacts came into play in practical ways too, and the business was instrumental in sourcing materials for commissioned works in the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). The property group benefitted from the partnership, reaching new audiences, through their mention in one of the pre-festival newsletters which was sent to over 12,000 subscribers.