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Stirling BID Launches Arts Scheme to Transform Empty Shops

(Go Forth Stirling) – Eight artists have been selected for an ambitious project which will transform Stirling’s empty shops into vibrant works of art.

The Street Stories initiative, launched by Go Forth Stirling Business Improvement District (BID), will see artworks featured on vacant shop windows including the city’s former BHS and Argos stores.

Local artists, including Jacqueline Marr, Louise Carberry and David Galletly, are taking part in the ground-breaking project following an appeal to Stirling’s creative community at the end of last year.

Artists were invited to submit art celebrating Stirling, its people and heritage which could be brought to life via interactive Augmented Reality (AR) – multi-sensory animation triggered by a free downloadable smartphone app.

A group of eight artists were then selected by a judging panel including Go Forth Stirling Project Director Danielle McRorie-Smith; Street Stories Project Manager Charlotte Mawby and the team at design agency Arch Creative, and Scene Stirling Manager Kevin Harrison.

The artworks chosen cover a range of different mediums, including mosaic, digital, mural, graphic design, dance and abstract art, and the artists are currently working with the Street Stories team to develop the stories which will feature within each design.

Ms McRorie-Smith said: “We were delighted with the calibre and range of the submissions we received which gave us an eclectic mix of different options to choose from.

“We went into the selection process with open minds and were so pleased with the different styles and mediums we were able to choose from a fantastic group of artists.

“The designs were all brilliant and it was hard to narrow our choices down to eight artists but we manage to pick a range of creatives who all have connections to Stirling and we’re excited to be working with them on the Street Stories project.”

Joe Nixon, Creative Director at Arch Creative, said: “We’re really excited to work with Stirling BID and develop the Street Stories brand. 

“We’re looking forward to working with the eight selected artists and to interpret their works by bringing them to life with augmented reality animations. 

“We’ve chosen a diverse range of artists with a variety of styles and mediums to feature across the vacant units in Stirling, and to help create a more attractive high street.

“We’ve also explored a range of local stories which will appeal to a wide range of audiences and create points of interest for the community.

“Developing this art trail will encourage footfall across the city centre in a safe way and will bring an innovative and exciting tourist offering to the city of Stirling.”

The artists picked for the project include Stirling illustrator and graphic designer David Galletly; abstract artist Roisin Mackenzie, of Little Rose Arts; Dunblane mosaic artist Rachel Davies and contemporary artist Jacque who is studying Art and Design at the University of Stirling.

Also on the team are Forth Valley college student Louise Carberry who is studying Contemporary Arts; professional figurative artist Jacqueline Marr; dance choreographer Malcolm Sutherland from Dunblane and Alloa-based contemporary painter and mural artist Michael Corr.

Ms McRorie-Smith added: “This is an exciting project which will transform and enhance the city centre while giving local artists the opportunity to see their work come to life through animation.

“It will also help us highlight the commercial spaces which are available, give both residents and visitors an insight into Stirling’s heritage and introduce an interactive trail to encourage footfall across the city centre.”

The empty shops involved in the Street Stories initiative are based in Barnton Street, Port Street and Murray Place and include the former premises of Laura Ashley, The Works, Argos and Designer Distinction.

Once complete the artworks will be printed onto vinyls to go onto shop windows and installation is expected to begin in March.

Go Forth Stirling BID represents close to 400 local businesses with a key objective of delivering projects and services which improve the area’s trading environment to benefit businesses, shoppers and visitors. 

The BID was set up in September 2017 following a vote among the city’s traders and runs for an initial five-year term.

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