Arts and Culture Today

Arts Centres in Galloway and Nithsdale

Dumfries & Galloway

The Dumfries and Galloway Unitary Authority succeeded the former Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council in 1996. The region had been established in 1975, as part of the reorganisation of local government in Scotland, replacing the former counties of Dumfriesshire, Wigtownshire and the Stewartry. The principal administrative centre is in Dumfries.

The Arts and Crafts within the region have benefitted from the continuity of support and the administrative arrangements in the education department over the past 36 years.

The formation of the unitary authority in 1996 brought the museum service based in Dumfries into the orbit of the educational authority.  Now, there is a high degree of collaboration across the region and a unified approach is possible in all cultural areas,

A key factor in the successful promotion of the arts in this region is the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association.

Established in 1985 the association has functioned as a coordinating body and a commissioning body, active in all aspects of the creative arts. This association received substantial support from the Scottish Arts Council, the Local Authority and other funding bodies.

Although many people would consider the Gracefield Arts Centre to be the flagship venue in the region, there are significant centres in Kirkcudbright, Langholm, Stranraer and Gatehouse of Fleet, offering drama music and the visual arts.

In addition to the resources provided by the local authorities there are many small, but highly successful, venues operated by community groups.

A large body of cultural practitioners; artists craftspeople, writers performers and musicians reside in the area and make significant contributions to the cultural life of the community.

Artist Rita Smith and colleagues prepare an exhibition installation at Gracefield,  (Touring exhibition and workshop originated by the artist and the Maclaurin Trust).   Photograph ©Mike Bailey.

Glenkiln Cross
Henry Moore (1898 - 1986),  Upright Motive No.1: Glenkiln Cross 1955-56. Shawhead, Dumfriesshire.  Collection of Sir William Keswick.  Photograph ©Mike Bailey

Ruins of Sweetheart Abbey, New Abbey, Dumfriesshire. Photograph ©Mike Bailey.

For information about Museums and galleries in Dumfries and Galloway, please follow this LINK

For information about artists and makers in South West Scotland please follow this LINK.

Sculptor George Wylie explains some of the finer points of his construction 'To a Mouse' at the preview of the Exhibition For a' That at Gracefield Arts Centre.  This exhibition was a collaboration between Gracefield and the Maclaurin Trust, subsidised by the Scottish Arts Council.  Photograph ©Mike Bailey.

Dumfries & Galloway Arts Association

This organisation is now defunct.  Updated information is in preparation.

The association works with the following partners:

Dumfries & Galloway Council
Scottish Arts Council (Creative Scotland)
Scottish Enterprise
Scottish Natural Heritage

To download the Arts Live Guide please right click here

Read and subscribe to our online literary magazine Southlight

The Arts Information Hub is open:
Mon – Fri 10am to 4pm, Sat 10am to 4pm.
New opening times  will be introduced after Easter.

Burns 2
Local Councillors at the formal opening of the exhibition 'For a' That', a joint project between the Maclaurin Trust and Gracefield Arts Centre. (Subsidised by the Scottish Arts Council.)  Photograph ©Mike Bailey.