Veer North, 2003 - 2016
I was one of the co-founders of Veer North, a professional association of visual artists based in Shetland or with strong Shetland connections. It was the most northerly group of visual artists in the UK when we set it up in 2003. I include it here because it was very much a project. I also want to strengthen the group's presence on the Internet because our original web site is no longer active. We also have a Facebook page which some members continue to use for announcements of their exhibitions.
I include photographs here of some of the activities and events we organised. Our first exhibition was at the old Shetland Museum in 2003. In 2004 we held a large group exhibition at the former woollen mill in Scalloway, which is now the Scalloway Museum. We held public events, including artists speaking about their work and a "Question Time". We held a public launch of our web site at the Hoswick Visitors Centre during an exhibition of members' work. At one point we exhibited members' work at the Tourist Information Centre at Market Cross on a rotating basis, one member at a time. We regularly organised exhibitions in Shetland for a number of years, and we held an auction in Lerwick on Valentine's Day.
Making connections with artists out with Shetland was important to members. A group of artists visited the Perth Visual Arts Forum in 2008. We met artists there, including Sue Grierson, who then came to the networking event we organised in Shetland, 60º North. It was made possible by a grant from NAN (Networking Artists Network) and Shetland Islands Council. Fifteen artists came to the event, 12 from Scotland plus three international artists from Northern Europe, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.
In 2007 we had another open members exhibition, Soup, this time at the Bonhoga Gallery, where we exhibited again in 2013. This second exhibition, Numbers, was selected by the Bonhoga Gallery team and members were asked to make new work on the theme. One of the most ambitious projects we undertook was Crossing Waater, coordinated by Kristi Tait. It was at Kulturhus Farum, near Copenhagen. We were fortunate to receive funding from the Leader programme, the Scottish Arts Council and Shetland Islands Council which not only enabled transport of the work to Denmark and the Scottish Mainland (Inchmore Gallery) but also supported artists to visit Denmark to conduct community based workshops. In Shetland members also engaged in community based workshops, facilitated by Frances Browne in her post as Cultural Coordinator. .