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Brittany 2000 :

Funded by Groundbase under the Transnational Development Programme.

A well-known couple from Kirkcudbright visited Brittany from the 15th to the 29th July 1999 on a mission that may lead to establishment of a retail craft outlet for Artists and Craftworkers from Dumfries and Galloway.

John Hudson and Anne Darling run the 'Wider Eye Gallery' in Kirkcudbright; they were appointed to carry out a feasibility study to see if it is possible to establish and maintain a retail outlet, possibly in the Breton art town of Pont Aven. The research involves studying visitor numbers and spend patterns, markets, premises, quality issues and competition, as well as the legal issues involved in such a venture.

'Brittany 2000' is the latest in a series of collaborative projects involving Groundbase Limited, who operate the LEADER II European Community Initiative across the whole of Dumfries and Galloway, and the Regional Arts Team based at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries. It is designed to create export opportunities for the 700 or so Artists and Craftworkers in the Region.

Graham Platt, Programme Executive with Groundbase, explained the background to this proposal :-

'The idea stemmed from a visit made to Brittany in August 1998 with student Ruth Winter as part of her Shell Technology Enhancement Programme (STEP) placement with Groundbase. We visited the town of Pont Aven in the south of Brittany, close to L'Orient, as part of her research into the craft sector, and felt at the time that it would be an ideal location for a retail outlet. Pont Aven itself is very much an Arts town with over 40 privately-owned galleries and craft shops, including one which sells only Australian Aboriginal Artwork and Craft products. The town attracts thousands of visitors each year and also holds regular craft markets throughout the summer.'

Following discussions with Clare Phillips and Jennifer Shaw of the Regional Arts Team it was decided to go ahead with a detailed study. Subsequently, both John Hudson and Anne Darling were invited to draw up a study brief.

John and Anne are both well known in the local area. As well as running the 'Wider Eye Gallery', John is respected for his work as an author, poet, involvement in local events and publication of 'Markings' magazine. Anne is a well-respected artist. John has also lived and worked in France and has a good command of the language.

In October 1999 an exhibition 'Report from Brittany' will be toured across the Region, aimed at firing the imagination and enthusiasm of local Artists and Craftworkers to be part of this exciting new venture 'Brittany 2000'.

John Hudson and Anne Darling on their way to Brittany..
Click on image for larger picture.

Report in the 'Galloway News', Thursday 2nd September 1999 :

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Last updated 17th July 1999.