Findhorn Bay Arts wins Scottish Highlands and Islands Rural Economy Rural Creative Award

Kresanna Aigner (center), Grace Green (right) and Jenna Brown (left) with the SHIRE Prize from Findhorn Bay Arts.

A FORRES-based company won a Highlands and Scottish Isles Rural Economy (SHIRE) award for their community work.

Findhorn Bay Arts (FBA) was named winner in the ‘Rural Creative’ category in an online ceremony celebrating Scotland’s rural economy – judges described FBA as passing from a one-day arts event to a program of cultural activities throughout the year “doing a fantastic job of bridging a cultural gap”.

FBA Director Kresanna Aigner explained that when the lockdown hit, FBA consulted with partners on how creativity could help.

She said: “We listened, talked and adapted. We have deployed a program. The award represents collaboration to bring hope by connecting our communities.

The Scottish Highlands and Island's Rural Economy Awards recognize the contributions of local organizations to the community.
The Scottish Highlands and Island’s Rural Economy Awards recognize the contributions of local organizations to the community.

The organizers of SHIRE believe that modern rural Scotland drives the economy through talent, natural resources, history and uniqueness that add value to its products. The awards recognize that 20 percent of the population lives in rural areas and that a large portion of the population works for local businesses.

Kresanna said, “The awards recognize the positive impact of our work on our community. Whether it’s providing jobs for artists or helping producers market their products, this award shows that by making things creative, we have a real impact. Canceling last year’s Findhorn Bay Festival was difficult. It is important to continue to bring art and creativity to local communities – to make people smile and give them hope.

FBA has redesigned its program of activities with financial support from Creative Scotland, Event Scotland and Berry Burn Community Fund.

From its headquarters on Forres High Street, FBA hosted an Artist-in-Residence Workshop from February to September 2020.

During the lockdown, the office became a boutique selling organic produce, handmade crafts, and handicrafts from local suppliers.

An FBA youth arts program has been redesigned to be put online, supporting young people through REMIX, a digital music creation project. It helped emerging musicians form a bubble to produce a new album.

Finally, FBA obtained grants for young arts to fund 10 projects across Moray.

The STORM puppet during Source to Sea in Burghead in September.
The STORM puppet during Source to Sea in Burghead in September.

Kresanna said, “Although the past two years have been difficult, we have accomplished a lot that we are proud of. We have continued to work with locals, businesses, community groups and outstanding artists to organize creative activities and events in a safe manner.

“This summer’s ‘Source to Sea’ cultural program brought together partners, funders, supporters, creative practitioners and community volunteers, especially for events like STORM. Smaller projects like “Window Wanderland” also brought people together. Over 100 windows were decorated by over 300 people.

The community contributed to the success of Window Wonderland in February.
The community contributed to the success of Window Wonderland in February.

FBA is now: leading a creative project for caregivers and individuals linked to Quarriers; and supporting the “grow your own dandelion” project.

FBA’s Festive Market Shop is open Thursday through Saturday until Christmas Eve and a new “Combine to Create a Cultural Collective” program will soon see FBA working with communities on collaborative projects.

“We will also have a big announcement to make regarding the next festival,” Kresanna concluded.

“2022 promises to be another exciting year! “


About Keneth T. Graves

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