GENERATION has played a key part in the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, motivating young people to be the artists and audiences of the future, ensuring that the games and their aftermath reach as many people across Scotland as possible.
This summer I’ve travelled Scotland from Stromness in Orkney to Dumfries. From Argyll and Bute to Edinburgh, following the amazing story of Scotland’s Contemporary Artists. This is GENERATION: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, helping make contemporary art more accessible through a series of exhibitions and events involving more than 60 venues and over 100 artists. I’m a writer and journalist who has been involved in preparing the publications for the project. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the country’s best artists, experts and writers to tell the story of the last 25 years.
And it’s quite a story. In Edinburgh, at the opening of the GENERATION exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland I sat with a group of artists in a room dedicated to the paintings of the late Steven Campbell. As we gathered on benches borrowed from his beloved Kelvingrove art Gallery everyone recalled their favourite stories about the artist.
In Thurso I watched videos by Douglas Gordon. He trained at Glasgow School of Art, and won the Turner Prize in 1996. He is the youngest ever artist to get a full retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, but this year hundreds of young people from Caithness have got to see his work up close in their own neighbourhood.
In Edinburgh artist Ross Sinclair has worked with Collective Gallery, to inspire young people start rock bands. The printed t-shirts at this exhibition at Collective gallery on Calton Hill were printed with the words “Free Electric Guitars for Young People” and he meant it.
GENERATION exhibitions carry on till the New Year, but the project’s long-term legacy is in telling the story of Scotland’s outstanding achievements and inspiring the young people who have visited the exhibitions and taken part in GENERATION's extensive education programme. I met some of those young people in Kirkcaldy. They had never been inside an artist’s studio before but they got the chance to visit exhibiting artist Toby Paterson in Glasgow. Now that they know what is possible, next year some of them will apply to go to art school.