Moray Art Centre Blog

10 Jan 2007 in Moray

In 2006/7, we followed progress as the new Moray Art Centre was built.

From Shed to Centre – 8 November 2006

THE FIRST dedicated visual art centre in Moray is emerging! For the past fourteen years, art classes have been given in a small shed in the Park, Findhorn, near Forres. Students travel to weekly, ongoing classes from a radius of over 50 miles.

Demand grew so great that it was time to realise our vision: to create an inspiring art centre in which people of all levels could learn and create. Now, a diverse and wide-ranging group of artists, teachers, arts and governmental organisations in Moray have come together to create a new regional and international art centre for the advancement of art and art appreciation.

Phases of Moray Art Centre

Plan for the new Moray Arts Centre

Our project is endorsed and supported, in part, by HIE Moray Enterprise, The Moray Council, Highland 2007/Scottish Arts Council, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, The Big Lottery, and many other trusts, and by an ever-growing number of generous individuals.

Our vision is to create an inspired environment within a centre for visual art education and appreciation that attracts and uses the high-level development of national and international artists from many art forms in order to immerse artists, teachers, and students in an intense, up-lifting atmosphere of pioneering thought and creativity.

We aim to provide an environment that encourages artists to fulfil their highest potential, regardless of technical ability, disabilities, or other restrictions. We plan to offer diverse arts activities in a dynamic and vital venue for artists to share inspiration and learning, with regular fine arts and crafts courses, talks, films, performance, and training.

Our aim is to create an encouraging environment in which artists and students can evolve and flourish at their own pace away from market trends, fashion, and critical intimidation, where people can question, explore, and find, for themselves, the highest beauty of our time.

We will encourage students to express their uninhibited reactions to art while developing personal taste, where originality and innovation will be a natural result of study and work, not a self-conscious intention or an aim in itself

Our centre will be the first, flexible venue for visual arts classes and exhibition in Moray. The facilities will include two teaching studios (can be joined into a single large studio), a dedicated studio for children and special needs, a community gallery, a Museum-quality Exhibition Space, four individual artists’ studios (flexible usage), and a resource library and study area.

Our building design will be a model of energy self-sufficiency achieved through solar photovoltaics, geothermal sources, and passive solar, and high-level insulation.

The centre is now under construction with an expected opening date of April 2007. Today, the framing of the first floor of Phase 1 of the Art Centre is underway! The site is surrounded by a common green and deer-filled fields, with a view over Findhorn Bay and rolling moors.

Moray Art Centre - work to date on 8 November 2006

Moray Art Centre - work to date on 8 November 2006

Our short-term funding goal for building costs for Phase One is £110,671.50 (only 19.1% left to raise!) of a total phase one build cost of £579,438, or 80.9%

We see our centre as a bee-hive of inspiration. Within a rich cross-disciplinary, cross-pollinating environment we will teach by inspiration and osmosis, as well as by technical means. Revered artists from Milan, New York, Glasgow, London, Lisbon, and even South India have, somehow, already heard of our project and want to be a part of it; a retreat from big-city pressures and an incubator for debate and exploration.

Do we want beauty? What is it? Can we, individually and communally, find commonality; a new criteria for beauty in our own time?

For more information or to help us meet our funding objectives, please contact Randy Klinger, The Park, Forres IV36 3TZ, Moray (01309 690712;  )

Randy Klinger will provide regular updates on progress. Moray Art Centre is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Company registered in Scotland No:187739 Recognised by the Inland Revenue as a Scottish Charity No: SC028270

Ridge-beam – 15 November 2006

This morning the ridge-beam was completed on the Moray Art Centre. Hurrah!

Moray Art Centre - work to date on 15 November 2006

Moray Art Centre - work to date on 15 November 2006

Celebrations – 23 November 2006

A celebration on the 23 November 2006 to honor the final funding of Phase 1 of the Art Centre.

Moray Art Centre celebrations - 23 November 2006

Moray Art Centre celebrations - 23 November 2006

A Highland Vision of High Art – 29 November 2006

The Moray Art Centre: A Highland Vision of High Art by Tom Cook is a Director of Alternatives, St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London

The Moray Art Centre Project at Forres, Scotland is located in a landscape that wouldn’t seem unfamiliar to residents of the mythical highland village of Brigadoon which was visible to the outside world for only one day every one hundred years. The Art Centre Project is seeking a bit more visibility as an art education centre with a difference.

The project is the inspiration of New Yorker, Randy Klinger, who has been teaching the visual arts at Findhorn since 1992. Findhorn is situated on a sea surrounded peninsula which is easily accessible to duned beaches, rolling hills, forests and rushing rivers. A cornucopia of inspiration only 40 minutes drive from the airport at Inverness where artist and teacher alike can engage with natural beauty and take refuge from the pressures of the art marketplace.

Randy’s concept of the arts centre is of a place where visual artists will be able to connect with teachers from many different artistic disciplines in a cross-pollinating environment where inspiration is drawn from the worlds of music, dance, theatre, art history, literature, poetry, sculpture, and crafts.

The vision statement of the project is: To create an inspired environment within a centre for art education and appreciation that attracts and uses the best achievements of artists from many art forms and from many countries in order to immerse artists, teachers and students in an intense uplifting atmosphere of pioneering thought and creativity – a process that allows learning to happen through pleasure, epiphany and elation in perceptions of beauty.

Moray Art Centre - work to date on 30 November 2006

Moray Art Centre - work to date on 30 November 2006

Randy explains how teachers from other disciplines can help visual artists to approach their work from a completely different dimension. For example a singer might show how counterpoint in music can inform the same approach in a painting or a choreographer might reveal how physical pattern in movement offers new perspectives on visual patterns.

Creative writing and dialogue can be used to address the emotional and mental context of creative expression. The concept of beauty will be explored in depth. How is it personally experienced? Is it different for for every individual? How is it that we respond with awe to a particular visual stimulus, object, sound or movement? Is there an inherently spiritual content in art? Why do we need it? Is it some form of magic?

In addition to achieving an intellectual understanding of artistic processes efforts will be made to reclaim the visceral response to art that has been been marginalised in favour of conceptual approaches. Appreciation of the essential quality in a work of art will be encouraged above considerations of genre such as avant garde or traditional.

Students, whether beginners or experienced, will be allowed to develop at their own pace and progress will not be measured by the domination of technical skill/talent/craft. These elements will be taught appropriately with respect and encouragement, but within the context of the wider agenda of the Moray Art Centre.

In contrast with most art schools the concept of the Art Centre is to provide a curriculum uniquely structured to help students achieve their best potential through organic growth in their experience of creativity. It could be described as a holistic approach in the same way as holistic medicine can function as complementary to traditional medical practice.

The proposal envisions studios for teaching, space for exhibitions, studios for individuals and meeting and storage rooms configured to encourage a sense of community. Students and teachers will be welcome to use the facilities at any time of the day or night, seven days per week.

Randy Klinger who is a graduate with honours from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science in New York City, is the Project Co-ordinator of the project which is a registered Scottish charity and a Not For Profit company limited by guarantee.

Thus far £475,000 has been donated by individuals and awarded as grants to the establishment and construction of the Moray Art Centre, (with just £100,000 left to go), Our founding Board of Directors with an Advisory Group include the Group Director of the Lloyds TSB Bank, North of Scotland Group, the Head of Art at Moray College, a founder of the Open College of The Arts in Scotland, the Head of Collections Management of The Tate Gallery, the Artist/Filmmaker, John Byrne, a variety of business people prominent in communications, public relations and marketing, and several art instructors and independent artists from many disciplines the UK, Italy, Germany and the USA.

An analogy of the objectives of the Moray Art Centre Project can be drawn from a lecture by Jeanette Winterson, journalist and author who asks What Is Art For? “Artists work at the interface between the real and the imagined. They coax us out of the numbness of the everyday – where life passes in a blur – and into a heightened space where we can inhabit other lives and experiences. The mind opens and stretches , takes in more than it knows, and returns to the ordinary world. This is not just relief – it is revolution. If art has not that purpose then it is not art.”

Mr Klinger aims to invite and instigate a nation-wide dialogue, a debate, an amplification of ideas and feelings about what beauty is and how we experience it.

The international Actress and Theatre Director, Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Laura Pasetti, a close supporter of the project writes about Beauty, in regards to the Moray art Centre’s mission:

“For me, the first gift that Art brings into life is the ability to transform pain.

“We often think that pain is a condition that helps us to evolve. It is not necessary true. Pain can be the veil that makes the sound of truth much softer and create obstacles to the birth of a new emotion inside.

“The second gift that Art brings is the ability to listen. We love talking, we love being in silence as well; but to listen means something totally different. It means to be able to overcome our limited vision of life, to open up to the sacred mystery of the Unknown.

“The third gift is the knowledge. We are ignorant. We think that history and philosophy are a baggage of the past. They are actually a way to meditate on life. On our story, learning through the thoughts and experiences of others what the human nature is made of. A Russian theatre Master, Anatolij Vassiliev says that an actor can be considered as such when he has finished studying all Plato by heart and some religious texts. An artist has an incredible responsibility, he is an alchemist and he deals with the energy of Transformation. He can’t deny the importance of knowledge and wisdom.

“This idea comes from the realisation that as human beings we have the duty to

give to the next generations the instruments to build their thoughts, to express their soul, to give birth to their beauty within. And this is what in my opinion an artist is called for:

To progress on the path to Infinity, to give eternal state to what is moving

inside the heart (feelings, emotions, poetry…).

“When Michelangelo completed “Moses”, he shouted at his sculpture crying “Why don’t you speak!” He was cheated by his own creation. The masterpiece was much bigger then his creator. Michelangelo evolved in that moment. Humankind evolved with him.”

Tom Cook is a Director of Alternatives, St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London, facilitator of the Drawing From Your Heart workshops and an Honorary Trustee.

© Tom Cook, 2006

A New Year, A New Beginning – 9 January 2007

Work is continuing on the new Moray Art Centre after the Festive period.

Moray Arts Centre - work to date on 9 January 2007

Moray Arts Centre - work to date on 9 January 2007

A call for Support! – 26 February 2007

Returning home after long hours at work, 2 in the morning in a yellow cab, through the flashing lights and plastic signs of midtown Manhattan, past the all-night hot dog and fried chicken storefronts, I made a decision: “I am finished with adding to all the ugliness in the world: I want Beauty!”

I flash back to myself as a 6 year old, in my family’s cookie-cutter suburban home on a sad Saturday afternoon; a lazy, post-cutting-the-grass-Saturday, watching ANYTHING on TV.

Clicking into a dance performance, I settled down. It was “Appalachian Spring”, by Martha Graham. Something happened. I felt a wave of good-feeling, awe, from my toes up to my head. It was amazing! – a physical sensation of upliftment that transported me into a new world.

Years later, teaching my students, moved to Findhorn by a clear calling, I called this feeling the Aesthetic Ecstasy.

In 1997, as soon as I received permission to stay in the UK, the idea came – Build a centre for the visual arts – a place where all people can experience this up-lift-ment, a place dedicated to Beauty; Art as an antidepressant.

Miracle after miracle happened and soon we had collected almost £200,000, a group of skilled people, a piece of land, and resources, all unsolicited. We went ahead in trust, knowing all the funding would fall into place, as we needed it.

Moray Arts Centre - work to date on 26 February 2007

Moray Arts Centre - work to date on 26 February 2007

Today is 26 February 2007. In 5 weeks time, the builders will clean-up the site and move out their diggers; completion! By that time, we have to manifest £90,000 to complete a £579,000 building.

Through the principles of positive thinking, inspired action, trust and abundance consciousness, we collected £489,000 in funds, £60,000 worth of land, bankers, lawyers, administrators, world-renowned international artists, scores of volunteers, and much good will.

Help! Please partner with us in the making of this magical place – to create an explorative and experimental centre: classes for children and adults, local and international exhibitions, festivals and conferences, art history talks and films. A centre who’s ambition is nothing less that the birthing of the next Golden Age.

In centuries to come, people will say, “ Yes, the first golden age was in classical Greece, the second in 15th century Florence, and the third… in a wonderful place called Findhorn. That was amazing!”

Please join me in this global up-welling; Beauty, …a joyous antidote!

Please contact me on all aspects of this project on 0044 (0)1309 690712

© Randy Klinger, 2007