Dear Members

We ended 2023 with our Annual Exhibition held at The Maclaurin Gallery in Ayr.  This major event presented 160 works, selected from local, national and international entries, together with three works by our guest Peter Howson OBE, and 15 works by graduates selected from the main Scottish art schools.

We also included moving-image works in collaboration with the Scottish artist-led organisation CutLog.

The exhibition, presented under the title “SSA – Art for the people” marks the beginning of expanding our presence within all Scottish regions on a permanent basis, with the view to creating more exhibition opportunities for our members.

Bringing this important event to Ayr was received very well by the local institutions, local public and Ayrshire based artists, with press coverage in Scottish Field (31/10/23), Artmag (10/11/23), The Scotsman (17/11/23), The Herald (18/11/23), The Sunday Post (19/11/23), The Times Scotland (21/11/23), The Ayrshire Post (22/11/23), The Flemming Collection.

Our last event at The Maclaurin Gallery was the lecture “Ukraine-The role of Culture in a time of war” delivered by Dr. Giles Sutherland”.

The exhibition caught the attention of the Scottish Government, and Clare Adamson MSP was present at both the Private View and the final SSA lecture on 13th of January.

Clare Adamson is the Scottish Government Convener for Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture, focussing on Scottish Government policy on culture across Scotland, including the creative industries.

I would like to take this opportunity and thank SSA Vice-President Frank To, Gill Walton, Rebekah Tolley, all volunteers, students and their families, who contributed to setting up The Maclaurin Gallery exhibition.

Special thanks to Carolyne Nurse who organised and coordinated the PR coverage. Also, special thanks to Dianne Garner (Maclaurin Trustee) and Erin Crossan (Maclaurin curator) for their support.

Unreserved commendations to our Council members, our Treasurer Rick Ballard and our excellent admin team, Cheryl Connell and Lauren McLaughlin for their support.

The SSA highly successful Mentoring scheme ended in 2023 with an exhibition and presentation at Cass Arts in Glasgow. Many thanks to Gillian McFarland, Jenny Pope and Vibha Pankaj for their efforts.

Image: SSA at the Scottish Parliament, March 2024

Year 2024 started with an important event at the Scottish Parliament on 6th March, sponsored by Clare Adamson MSP.

The event was presented under the title “SSA, Making Scottish Art Matter since 1891” and it was aimed at raising awareness of the contribution made by the SSA to Scottish Culture and point out the opportunities offered by tightening the collaboration with the Scottish Government, by supporting the formation and delivery of cultural programmes.

Vasile Toch, President, delivered a speech covering the SSA history, SSA structure and aims, SSA national and international activities and the SSA position on the war in Ukraine and climate change.

SSA Vasile Toch Scottish Parliament Presentation 6 March 2024

Vibha Pankaj, Council member, presented the Mentoring Programme, followed by Rhona McGuire on the subject of graduate artist challenges.

Moving on to 2024 exhibitions, we intend return to the National Galleries in Edinburgh for our annual exhibition, while also holding other national exhibitions in Gairloch (June 2024), and Galashiels (July – September 2024).

We are also expanding on to the international scene with an exhibition at the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania (October 2024).

The Mentoring scheme will be continued, and we are currently looking at funding possibilities.

I am looking forward to shaping up the events plan for 2025, with several confirmed exhibitions:

  • Amsterdam (Arti et Amicitiae), The Netherlands: 25 August- 21 September 2025 (open call)
  • Dick Institute, Kilmarnock: January -April 2025 (open call – theme “IT Solitude”)
  • Maclaurin Gallery, Ayr: November 2025- January 2026 (open call)

The SSA annual 2025 ; National Galleries, Edinburgh.

And lastly, we are launching an essay initiative, asking the members to contribute to our Newsletter with papers reflecting their thoughts. Any subject matter (art related preferred). More information on this will be circulated soon.

The essays will be collated into a book and hopefully published at the end of each year.

Thank you.

Vasile Toch

President of the Society of Scottish Artists