Glasgow City Council plans to hire an artist-in-residence in each council ward in an effort to elevate the city’s cultural status.
Deputy Leader of the Council, David McDonald, announced the initiative at a City Chambers committee hearing, with plans to place 23 artists-in-residence throughout Glasgow.
McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life, which promotes the city’s galleries, museums and libraries, stated: “We believed that when it comes to the renewal of our city… culture is currently underused, or at least undervalued.”
He added that it would help Glasgow, “compete against all those other cities that have developed their own strong cultural offerings in recent years.”
The plans are part of a larger 25-year strategy, which will also see the Lord Provost chairing regular cultural summits where artists can share and produce new ideas.
The costs of the initiative are yet to be calculated, but it has been applauded by Glasgow Effect artist Ellie Harrison, who said: “The central message of my year working in Glasgow in 2016 was that if we want to create a more equal, sustainable and connected society, then we need more opportunities for people, artists, everyone to work creatively with and in their local communities. This vital sort of work should not just be the preserve of the privileged few.”
McDonald further called on the council to provide artists with affordable work spaces without licensing issues. He proposes that abandoned council buildings should serve as hubs for local artists, catering to not only newer artists, but also to older ones on a lower income.
Research has shown the majority of artists earn less than £5,000 per year from their artwork and McDonald believes that relieving artists of living expense pressures would encourage a more artistically-vibrant community.