Visual Artist Unit set to close down

After 4 years of running Visual Artist Unit (VAU) the committee has decided to bring things to a close. The decision to end VAU has not come lightly and we wish to thank all our supporters over the years, in particular our fantastic Artist Members.

Seven Painting graduates from Gray’s School of Art and one Fine Art graduate from Duncan of Jordanstone founded VAU in 2014. None of us knew how to run an arts organisation when we first set up this platform in which to support emerging artists. We learnt everything from scratch in our spare time, whilst trying to balance our own art practices on top of other jobs. We have achieved a huge amount over the years, with approximately 56 artists becoming members over the course of 4 years and facilitating a wide range of projects across the country. From Pillow Talks to Members Shows, from workshops with schools to exhibitions featuring tiny artworks, and programming for Sonica and Look Again festivals. We are very proud of all VAU accomplishments, and the partnerships we have developed with artists and organisations.

We don’t wish for this news to be seen as sad or negative, VAU has simply run its course. Perhaps not always fully appreciated, the organisation has always been run on a voluntary basis by the committee, teaching each of us a great deal to take forward into future projects. However, as time has gone on, we have each become busier in our personal and professional lives with priorities shifting, making the day-to-day running of the organisation increasingly more difficult. We have not been able to build the organisation up to a point in which to employ anyone and have never secured any long-term funding, often working on a project-to-project basis. In order to cover our full running costs, we would have had to increase the cost of membership significantly which would have priced out the very artists we sought to support.

Throughout this process, we have worked with fantastic artists, curators and arts sector workers, which we hope to keep in touch with and continue to work with in future. Moving forward, our committee members are working on some exciting projects and initiatives, which we encourage you to keep track of:

David McDiarmid, Jon Nicolson, Stuart Noble and Emma Rogers are moving forward with their individual art practices and will continue working together to develop new projects that combine food, drink, art and the sustainability of artists’ careers. Look out for Artists’ Spread which had its first major event back in August at the Project Cafe, and the new Artists’ Tuck Shop, coming soon to Glasgow.

Paul Corbett continues to work on his individual art practice and plans to open his own wood working production facility in North Lanarkshire.

Rachel Currie is now working as an Art and Design teacher at Garnock Academy and is a mother of a wee 2-year-old.

Laura McGlinchey is currently studying on the MLitt Painting course at Glasgow School of Art.

Vivian Ross-Smith continues to work on her individual art practice from Shetland, as well as focusing on transatlantic collaborative project, islandness. Vivian is also a Lecturer of Fine Art at the University of Highlands and Islands.

The VAU website, Twitter and Instagram pages will remain an archive to show all of the projects VAU has facilitated and showcase each of the members VAU has had the pleasure of working with.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our members, past and current, to all of our past project funders, and to each and every artist, curator, art sector worker and organisation we have built relationships with. You have all been a pleasure to work with!



Big love,

The VAU Committee


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