A CAMPAIGN has been launched to fight for better support for the visual arts in Scotland.

Art in Action is aimed at championing the “valuable role visual art plays within communities” and is calling for stronger recognition of this value when it comes to decision-making.

It has been launched by the Scottish Contemporary Art Network (Scan) and is being targeted at MSPs who will be invited to witness the positive impact of visual art in their constituencies.

They will be encouraged to share their experiences via social media using #ArtInAction – and to make a public commitment to support artists and art in their communities.

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Scan recently submitted evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Culture Committee inquiry on arts funding, urging government and funders to think more strategically about supporting a sector that brings “real value” to society.

The network pointed out that the proportion of the Scottish Government budget going to arms-length funding body Creative Scotland is just 0.2% and said that diminishing levels of investment and funding at both local and national level had left the arts infrastructure in a “fragile” state with artists’ livelihoods "precarious”.

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“Culture and creativity are not an add-on; they are part and parcel of how we live our lives,” said Scan director, Clare Harris. “Art facilitates new ways of seeing in a way that’s positive for all of us.

“As part of the fabric of our diverse and multi-faceted society, contemporary visual art can feed long-term change within our communities.

“As such artists should play an integral role in planning for a future vibrant Scotland. We challenge decision-makers to think differently about art – and to recognise its potential by investing in it.”

The campaign will highlight projects where artists are playing an integral part in their communities such as the ongoing work at Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership’s Cherry Road Centre, a day centre for adults with complex developmental disabilities and autism.

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Here Artlink provides weekly sensory workshops using a wide range of techniques, an approach that produced a positive report from Dr Susan Levy and Dr Hanna Young of the University of Dundee.

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“The work of Artlink and Cherry Road recognises that meaningful experiences are achieved through slowly building authentic and genuine connections,” the report said.

“Working with the artist inspires creative thinking which motivates to create a ‘safe’ space where all can work together equitably, learning from each other, opening themselves, and those they work with, up to new experiences and perspectives.”

John Connell, Cherry Road team leader added: “We have achieved things that nobody thought we’d be able to achieve.

“We make a big difference to people that traditional services really struggle to support because we’re doing things that are really meaningful and make a difference to people’s lives. The service users, artists and staff are working alongside each other.

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“There’s a completely different expectation of people when they are in a sensory workshop with artists than there would be in a traditional activity.

He added: “Sharing and learning from each other is key so that the workers are challenged to think about care in a different way.”

Artist Steven Hollingsworth said that art was “about offering something different to the world, offering something back”.

“The people we work with do that as well because they have experiences we can’t imagine,” he said.