I moved to Glasgow from Phoenix, Arizona to study at the Glasgow School of Art and graduated with a degree in painting and printmaking in 2010. Currently I have a studio space at Ironbbratz Studios in Merchant City, where I am also on the committee for our small artist-led gallery, the Telfer Gallery.
In my time at the Glasgow School of Art, I came to discover just how vibrant and industrious Glasgow’s art community is. In my hometown – one of the United States’ largest cities – gallery spaces are few and exhibitions are infrequent. Support for emerging artists is limited, at best. Knowing all this, upon graduation I decided to stay here in Glasgow. Here was a valuable community: fellow art school alumni, opportunities to show work in spaces like The Glue Factory, Transmission, Studio 41, The Briggait, resources like Creative Scotland and Glasgow-based arts social network Central Station, thousands of events to attend and countless peers as devoted as I am to the arts.
As it stands, Glasgow is an incredibly nurturing environment for the early-career artist. However, most of the opportunities I have had in my first year and a half after graduation would not have been possible under the new public entertainment licensing legislation. It is my deepest concern that this law will destroy the foundations of Glasgow’s flourishing arts community.
The effects this legislation will have on emerging artists will truly manifest themselves in five, ten, fifteen years time. The loss of today’s pop-up exhibitions and not-for-profit galleries may not be felt by Glasgow City Council but what must be remembered is that artists such as Karla Black, who both represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale and was nominated for the Turner Prize just last year, had humble beginnings such as ours, showing her work in small flat exhibitions.
The Glasgow City Council must be forward-thinking. The future of this city’s ‘miraculous’ art scene is in imminent danger. Save the small gallery, the artist collective, the pop-up exhibition. Let Glasgow Flourish.