Fundraising bid launched for Orkney creative hub

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Organisers plan to open centre in old Ortak workshop space.

A major fundraising campaign has been launched to raise cash for a new art, design and crafts centre for the Orkney community.

Organisers behind the Orkney Creative Hub project are looking to raise £1 million by April to buy and adapt the former Ortak workshop and visitor centre in Kirkwall and are now appealing for public support.

The Orkney Creative Hub aims to provide a central location for education, development and enterprise opportunities for artists, designers and crafters of all ages and abilities, across many disciplines.

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The initiative – driven by Orkney Crafts Association, Orkney Arts and Crafts and the not-for-profit art shop, For Arts Sake – has been set up as a ‘Community Interest Company’, ensuring its assets will stay within the community. Any profits from the project will be distributed to local charities.

Project leader Jan Judge commented: “Orkney has a long established creative heritage, but this will be the first time we’ll have a central site where established artists and makers can promote their work.”

“It’ll also be a place where the community will have access to the resources needed to develop their individual creativity, and will offer support and mentoring to anyone who wishes to turn their talent into a business. Importantly, the Hub’s outreach programme will allow us to support artists and makers in the outer isles and bring the exhibitions to the wider community.”

Heather Croy from the Orkney Crafts Association added: “Inclusivity is very much the ethos of this project. The space will allow us to include a range of educational facilities not found elsewhere in the islands, covering, for example, teaching and instruction in ceramics, jewellery making and textiles.

According to Heather, the old Ortak building offered a central and accessible site that could encompass a wide range of activities, from a retail shop, gallery and exhibition space, to educational and business start-up workshop areas, and a cafe for meeting and performance use.

Orkney Arts and Craft’s Clive Horton added: “We’re asking members of the community if they could sponsor a square foot of the Ortak building for £10, with the aim of raising around £250,000. We only have exclusivity on the Ortak premises until April and then it’ll go back on the open market. It’s a challenge, but we’re hoping the people of Orkney will see the value of the project and help us secure the building to make this dream come true.”

Anyone who’d like to make a donation to the project can do so via the Donation button on the Orkney Creative Hub website orkneycreativehub.org.uk.

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