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Art gallery invites public to add their own work to the walls

The event will be running from April 19 to June 30 at Edinburgh Printmakers.

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A woman placing prints on a wall

An art gallery in Edinburgh is inviting the public to add their own work to the walls.

Edinburgh Printmakers, which was the first, open access, print studio in the UK when it was established 57 years ago, is based in a former factory in Castle Mills, Dundee Street, Fountainbridge.

A new event, Castle Mills: Then & Now, Whose Gallery is it Anyway?, will open up the space to aspiring artists who want to put their own artwork on the walls, or curate existing work.

It will be running from April 19 to June 30, and is described as “a real-time, in-person interactive experience”.

A gallery assistant helps to prepare the exhibition space at the Edinburgh Printmakers (Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

A spokesperson said: “The rules are simple: anyone can add work and/or choose to co-curate the exhibition by moving artworks in the space in ways that make sense to them.”

A variety of mediums will be exhibited including printmaking, drawing, textile, sculpture, and performance, and contributors are expected to include community groups, local schools or visitors.

However, it was warned that a member of the public can move an artwork, or put it into a box out of sight.

Staff from Edinburgh Printmakers will be on hand to assist in placing works as well as giving insights and advice on art curation.

The heritage project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, in a bid to diversify community heritage activities to widen reach and engagement, and to generate ideas for new activities. A series of talks will also be held.

The Edinburgh Printmakers studio in Fountainbridge (Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

Edinburgh Printmakers has hosted works by Eduardo Paolozzi, Sam Ainsley, John Byrne, Victoria Crowe, Alasdair Gray, Rachel MacLean, John Bellany and Alberta Whittle, among others.

Ilaria Casini, heritage engagement officer, said: “This exhibition will bring together perspectives and stories from Edinburgh Printmakers’ history and heritage.

“We will ask questions about mark-making, art curation and the relationship between artist and audience by giving people and communities agency to take over our large, light-filled, street-facing gallery space.

“We want everyone to learn and talk about art in a friendly and welcoming environment, informally through chatting, and via talks and tours over the duration of this project.

“As the public continuously modifies the exhibition, it will never remain exactly the same, prompting a reflection on printmaking and the visual arts that goes beyond a single curator’s selection.

“We’re looking forward to the conversations, artistic discoveries and celebration of creativity that lies ahead.”

Edinburgh Printmakers chief executive Janet Archer said: “This landmark building was once a thriving hub as thousands of people came through its doors each day. This heritage aligned with our own as an active membership providing open access, printmaking facilities since it opened in 1967.

“Whose Gallery is it Anyway? is the next step in our social role as a hub for a new community collectively shaping future heritage through sharing stories and charting them through visual expression of all kinds.”

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