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1st Prestonpans Annual Murals Fest: Cuthill Sets the Pace for the Future

Gladly Taking a Leaf out of Sheffield Tasmania's Book

Sheffield Tasmania set the custom going some 5 years ago when it instituted an 'Annual Murals Fest' in their small but very significant mural town's designer park. In 2008, when Sheffield hosts the next Global Murals Conference it will continue that tradition with a range of international artists including Tom Ewing from Prestonpans. [Kati Kati in New Zealand has recently emulated Sheffield's initiative.]

To get his hand in, Tom Ewing was appointed Director for the launch of our own Annual Murals Fest in Prestonpans on June 2nd/ 3rd 2007. The setting for this first occasion was most fittingly Cuthill Park, with its magificent views across the Forth to Leith and Arthur's Seat. And it is no secret that it is the Prestoungrange Arts Festival's ambition that Cuthill will henceforth always serve as home-venue for the event in the coming years. Despite anxities about forecast rain, none came until 3.30 pm on Sunday by which time most of the work had been accomplished.

click on all images throughout to enlarge

Tom Ewing, as Mural Fest Director, had responsibility to evaluate and discuss what each of this year's five 'competing' muralists would seek to depict against the Arts Festival's Brief: To envision Cuthill Park from its Past but also to Look to its Future in the Service of the Community. They had to hand The Friends of Cuthill Park's Final Report on their Consultation with its 10 Point Plan - and every point listed is present in one or more of the murals.

And for light relief the youngsters were invited to paint the newly arrived calf that has joined the town's two cow herd assembled at Redburn Dairy for the 2006 Edinburgh Cow Parade.

The pictures speak for themselves as the artists set to work...

Wei Luan as Judge and Jury at The Prestongrange Bowling Club Monday June 4th

Wei Luan, the internationally renowned Chinese-Canadian muralist, sculptor and portrait painter was in residence throughout the Three Harbours Festival June 1st/ 10th, making his second visit to The Pans since he previously offered Master Classes in August 2006 at the Global Murals Conference to great acclaim. So he was invited and readily agreed to be Judge and Jury on which mural should win the coveted 1st Prize. He discussed all the artworks with their creators in depth before pronouncing Lynn Fraser and Laura Young's joint mural Kittle Flowers to be the 2007 Murals Fest Winner. It appears immediately here below. Wei Luan is pictured handing over the Winner's cheque for 700 from the Barons' Courts of Prestoungrange and Dolphinstoun Arts Festival.

Lynn and Luara explained their work as follows: "We sought to capture children and the natural environmemt of the Park depicted from the 40s, 70s and present day. All the wildlife shown is natural to the Park and children's games are certainly part of the community's cultural heritage. A small piece of social archaeology is conserved in an old local rhyme:
Are you going to golf, Sir?
No, Sir. Why, Sir?
Because I've got the cold Sir ..."

The Prestongrange Bowling Club as judging venue was especially appropriate since President Dougie Porteous has been an active member of The Friends of Cuthill Park in their campaign to get the Park back into the community's service once again. The occasion was also the 4th and Final Consultation meeting of The Residents' Action Group, Friends of Cuthill Park, who at the conclusion formally passed the baton for the Park's Renaissance to a new joint team working with Prestonpans Community Council. County Councillors Willie Innes, Stuart Currie [also East Lothian Depute Provost] and Peter Mackenzie were present as was Jimmy Yule, Chairman of the Community Council.

The final mural boards from the other four artists are shown below, with the artwork judged Runner-Up shown first. The artists' works in sequence left to right were painted by: Fiona Robb; Adele Robertson + James Robertson + Jane Innes Campbell; Paul Dalrymple; and Julian, Baron of Dolphinstoun.

P.S. The new born calf was designed and painted by Julie Ralston [10], Taylor Horton [10], Amy Greig [12], Emma Walker [9] and Ryan Clark [11] from Prestonpans Primary School. They were ably assisted by Alexander Storrie [10] and several other local youngsters who passed by, all under Tom Ewing's benign supervision.

Open for Debate in the Great Outdoors close by Cuthill Rocks ...with the Redburn Herd all together at last

.....and please note that the Redburn Herd is giving a glimpse of the forthcoming Prestonpans Pottery Exhibition [and a timely reminder of our famous Prestongrange brickworks too which provided all the bricks that built the Prestoungrange Gothenburg in 1908!]. The Prestonpans Pottery Exhibition runs from mid August to end September and is being assembled at the Episcopal Church on Ayres Wynd.

Published Date: June 12th 2007

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