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Painting Walls?


In the coming months, a number of large walls in Prestonpans are going to get painted - by leading local and international artists. The first five are imminent, but they will be just the first of many more to come.

The paintings will tell the history of our town and the neighbouring area. They will, from the outset, include the history of Morrison's Haven, of our Colliery, of our Brickworks and Potteries, and of our Brewery. Whenever possible local families involved in that history can expect to see their ancestors included.

Research for authentic detail has been going on for the last three years in association with the Industrial Heritage Museum at the old Prestoungrange Colliery. A dozen booklets have been completed and are on sale there. And the History of Prestonpans, published some three years ago by Prestonpans Local History Society, is a vital key source of detail beyond the industrial heritage.

The Prestoungrange Arts Festival Society, as organisers of the Murals initiative, are looking for as many photographs and insights into local history as they can get. From June 1 st their office will be at The Cockenzie Centre, on the Edinburgh Road at Port Seton. Jane Bonnar is the Murals Director and based there. Let her have any/ all great ideas, both for walls that would be great for painting and themes that you feel can be captured in a mural.

And, to whet appetites beyond the murals telling our history, there is every intention to get a microbrewery going in town to get some Fowlers ales here again and to work with local potters to make reproductions of some of the best of the old designs as well as to create a wholly new 21 st Century range.

All brewers and potters who wish to get involved should contact the Prestoungrange Arts Festival Society offices as soon as they can.

The Prestoungrange Arts Festival Society cannot claim to be the first in the world to launch such a Festival of the Arts to attract tourists. But we are seemingly the first in the UK. The global movement as it is known today was founded in Chemainus, British Columbia, by Karl Schutz who visited Prestonpans and presented several workshops in September last year and January this.

Karl Schutz is no Scot, but there are many descendants of Scottish settlers living today in and around Chemainus and more widely across Canada. His home town lost its sawmill and most of the town's jobs went with it. It's a tough story, but twenty years later it thrives as a world leader. 29 Palms in California, is home to the largest Marine Corps base in the world, but it needed to build links for families and children.

KatiKati in New Zealand was the kiwi fruit capital of the world but lost its hold. Bowen in Queensland Australia is sugar country facing changing world markets. All these have been visited by the Festival team and are giving their fullest support and advice on how our own Murals here, in Prestonpans, can make the biggest impact, attract visitors and tourists to our town, and bring enjoyment to us all in our daily lives.

An exhibition of some of the Murals that these towns have painted is now open at the Cockenzie Centre.

If you want to get involved, with your own historical knowledge and/or skills in the mural business anywhere from A-Z, or have a great wall to be painted. We shall be holding Cef Involved Workshops on a regular basis at Cockenzie Centre.

Please contact
The Prestoungrange Arts Festival Society
The Gothenburg, 227 High Street, Prestonpans, East Lothian. EH32 9BE Scotland. Telephone (44) (0) 1875 819922.

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