The Network of Artists (NOA) online directory for creatives has been a long time coming for Dumfries and Galloway. There have been many conversations surrounding the issues of artist isolation, young people leaving the region to fulfil their ambitions and the need for connection and networking for those of all ages and experience to be found in one place.
In 2019, Creative Spaces (formally known as Blueprint100) enabled two of their team members to embark on a short research project – The Gap – which arose from a mutual feeling of being unsure where to go and what to do next in the region. At different points of transition in their lives, this felt like it could be a lonely process of trying to find your feet in a small place, where no one seems to do what you do.
The Gap aimed to explore and question the potential creative pathways and opportunities for young people in Dumfries and Galloway. Through survey and short interviews from a variety of artists and organisations, including Outpost Arts, Young Promoters Group and Wigtown Book Festival, the need for people to know who was on their own doorstep became apparent very quickly. Creatives did not have one platform to connect and share, people did not know how to ask for help or have an awareness that someone nearby could be of great assistance. There was not a platform which collated and shared all that was going on in Dumfries and Galloway which then resulted in missed opportunity and collaboration; broadening those feelings of separateness and leaving creatives wondering if they can continue being an artist in D&G at all.
The Gap also recognized that this was not only a “young persons” matter – it was much bigger than that. There were creatives and organizations of all different ages and skillset throughout the region who felt this uncertainty as to who and what was around them. What could we do to bridge this gap?
As research ended in 2020, Creative Spaces granted funding for two individuals to co-create and pilot run an online directory of artists.
In 2021, NOA was born, and we are delighted to be able to finally introduce you to the first version of our website, which we hope you will soon call your own.
NOA aims to become an online directory for all creatives to aid connection, mentorship, collaboration, knowledge, and community. Follow the link, sign up to become a member (completely free of charge), and gain access to all the opportunities and events listed alongside our Directory of Artists. We are open to all kinds of creative beings, take a look: www.networkofartists.com
Please remember this is our first launch of the site, and we are continuously looking for better ways to advocate the Dumfries and Galloway creative community with a hope this will expand to further creative communities, both nationally and internationally in the future. We already have more ideas in the pipeline, so it is likely you may too! Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any of your own thoughts, questions or queries you may have at [email protected]