Town Art in Scotland

Glenrothes Hippos

In 1978 I was invited to undertake a scoping excercise to explore the feasibility for a two to three year touring exhibition based on the activities and role of the Scottish Town Artists. A full proposal was presented to the Scottish Arts Council but in the Spring 1979 my submission was rejected as the activities were based in Scotland and it was therefore felt "the research would need to be done nearer to home." Regrettably nothing became of the proposed exhibition.

Town Artists included;
Denis Barns Livingston
Stan Bonnar ex-East Kilbride
David Harding ex-Glenrothes
Brian Miller Cumbernauld
John Nicholson East Kilbride
Malcolm Robertson Glenrothes

The exhibition would describe the function and work of the above artists and their assistants as (i) creative people in their own right, (ii) consultants to the town planning team, (iii) catalysts within the community, and (iv) protagonists in their workshops, and the manufacturing processes which might result.

The exhibition was intended to: (i) Engage the interest of the general public, (ii) Speak to local authorities (potential employers), professional environmentalists, educationalists, and community organisations, in order to enlist their active support and lead on to positive action. It had been said that an artist should be employed by every local authority, and enjoy a similar status to that of the borough architect. It was an appropriate time to introduce of the town artist concept to older towns and inner city urban renewal programmes.

Protagonist consulted included:

Denis Barns Town Artist Livingston,

Stan Bonnar ex-Town Artist East Kilbride,

Rob Breen Exhibitions Officer Scottish Arts Council,

Tim Burchard General Exhibitions Organiser British Council London,

John Coghill ex Director of Architecture Glenrothes and Planning,

David Cowling Deputy Architect Cumbernauld,

Hugh Graham ex-Assistant to David Harding Glenrothes,

Gerald Hammond Deputy Architect Livingstone,

David Harding ex Glenrothes Town Artist,

Ian Lancaster Assistant Director (Arts) Gulbenkian Foundation

Maurice Maguire ex-Denis Barnes' assistant Livingstone,

Brian Miller Town Artist Cumbernauld,

Kenny Munroe Denis Barnes' assistant

John Nicholson Town Artist East Kilbride,

Malcolm Robertson Town Artist Glenrothes

Mike Sixsmith Exhibition Officer ACGB

Alister Warman Art in Public Places ACGB

Philip Wright, Art Director, Scottish Arts Council

George Young Chief Executive East Kilbride Dev Corp.

Mel Williams.Ex Chief Architect Glenrothes,


The synopsis was prepared by Graham Cooper.