Events News Opportunities

Opportunity: Nithraid Young Artist Commission

We are looking for an artist to create a structure or sculptural piece to support The Salty Coo* and an imaginative or playful way of releasing the Coo into the River Nith.
This is an exciting opportunity for a young person to get involved directly with the event and festival delivery team, and will be supported by an experienced mentor artist who can provide practical support in realising your ideas.
*The Salty Coo is the central emblem of the Nithraid Festival, a sculpture created by artist Stan Bonner, coated in salt that is washed from the sculpture as it is released into the River. When Nithraid has been able to take place as a physical event, the Salty Coo is the focal point of the festival procession and is carried through the town to the rivers edge. In previous years, the Cow Delivery Mechanism has been an elevated platform in the centre of the river, but for 2020 and future years, we would like to commission a new structure.

Nithraid River Festival is an annual event celebrating Dumfries’ relationship with the River Nith. Due to the impact of COVID-19, instead of holding our physical festival, we will be hosting an extended celebration of the River Nith across our online platforms.
This year our virtual festival will journey down the River Nith from its source near New Cumnock to the rivers mouth at Carsethorn; engaging with different towns, villages and communities along the way with a 3-month program of activities, artworks, literature, music, information sharing and story telling.
The work could be sited at a variety of points around the river, from the Mill Green, Whitesands, Devorguilla Bridge or the centre of the river – your proposal should create a spectacle for the Coo to be displayed, and then released into the river. We are open to playful and imaginative responses to the brief, and proposals should consider how the work would draw audiences to the festival site.
The selected artist will work with the Festival Manager, Lead Project Artist and an experienced local mentor to support your proposal and develop ambitious, but practical ideas within the available budget. The artist will be supported through skills development and peer learning as appropriate to their proposal, in line with government guidance regarding safe working practice regarding COVID19.
It is anticipated that for the 2020 edition of the festival, the commissioned work (alongside the Salty Coo) will be launched on site without a gathered audience, and will be documented for sharing to our online platforms. The work will then be stored for use again in future Nithraid festivals, when we are safely able to include members of the public.
We are mindful that this role is to be appointed during the COVID-19 pandemic. At all times throughout the duration of the role, the Stove will be following and adhering to all of the official Scottish Government guidance in relation to social distancing measures, safeguarding of individuals & groups and safe work practices.
Eligibility, Budget and Key Dates
Applications between the ages of 16–25 will be prioritised as has been created and funded to benefit young persons within this age group.
The role will commence on the 1stof July 2020, and artwork will be launched to signify the close of our virtual festival and summer programme on Sunday, 27thSeptember 2020.
The total fee for this role including materials is £1,000
We would like to make sure that our recruitment process is as open as possible, if you’d like to discuss any accessibility requirements or have questions about this opportunity, please get in touch with Sal Cuddihy via or phone 07497 406511 (Mon-Fri 10-4pm).
To Apply
Please send an email to with a maximum file size of 10MB with the following:

  • A proposal (max. 500 words) outlining how you would approach the commission
  • A current CV
  • Up to 3 examples of past work that you feel supports your application

The deadline for receiving submissions is 10pm on Monday 22nd June.
Interviews for the commissions will be held virtually on Friday 26th June. By applying you are deemed to be making yourself available for interview on this date.
We will always send an email acknowledging receipt of any applications. If you do not receive an email, please contact us again by email.

We are grateful for the support from the Holywood Trust in funding this role.