As over 80 artists, businesses and heritage groups prepare to launch Moray's newest event – Culture Day - on Saturday (21 September), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is hailing its potential for Forres, Findhorn, Kinloss and the wider area.
With an estimated reach of between 2500-3000 people, the anticipated spend in the area from the innovative event could amount to somewhere in the region of £100,000.
The model of community led partnership working, with other recent examples including Piping Hot Forres and the 6-day Orienteering Championship, is delivering events for locals and for visitors which maximise social and economic benefits.
And despite tight budgets this is drawing interest from public sector agencies. This inaugural event by Findhorn Bay Arts Festival Ltd has attracted funding from HIE and Creative Scotland, as well as European LEADER funding and community grants.
Findhorn Bay Arts, a social enterprise company, wants to connect communities, groups, individuals and businesses in an event which will raise awareness of Moray as a thriving cultural hub. This in turn will result in an increase in tourism and a richer experience for visitors.
HIE’s Fiona Robb, head of strengthening communities in Moray, said: “This project is making invaluable links between community groups, arts, cultural and heritage organisations and local businesses, especially those in the hospitality sector.
“In developing their aspirations for Culture Day, FBAF Ltd has drawn on the priorities of the Moray Economic Strategy. HIE’s focus is on developing whole community led initiatives which reinforce community identity through arts, heritage and cultural activities.
"With this aim in mind partners of the Moray Economic Strategy are working together to develop a long term plan for future development of arts, culture and heritage in Moray. This masterplan will recognise the contribution of these important aspects of Moray life to the area’s future.”
Culture Day organisers will animate the streets of Kinloss, Forres and Findhorn with a wide variety of music, dance, projections and street theatre activities to create a festive atmosphere. There have been a wide range of activities in the run up to the actual day, which have involved people of every age from across the community.
Kresanna Aigner, director of FBAF, said: "Culture Day is an important stepping-stone towards the establishment of an annual five day Findhorn Bay Arts Festival, the first of which is to be held in September 2014.
"It will introduce people to art forms or cultural activities that they may not have experienced before, such as film-making, dance, drama, poetry and sound recording. Culture Day will offer training and hands-on experience through volunteering opportunities in skills required to run events, such as risk management and health and safety. The entire community will be invited to volunteer with particular encouragement for: young people, to gain new skills and work experience; older people, who can feel isolated; and unemployed people.
"The inclusion of social enterprises as part of the delivery model will ensure that the more disadvantaged people in the area also have the opportunity to participate and perform.”
Highlights include Forres Pipe Band, Be Like Pablo & Fly Agaric Stilt Walkers who will be out and about entertaining in the streets, Bodysurf Scotland's contemporary dance shorts at the Universal Hall, a pop up film studio at Transition Town Forres by Moving Picts, the largest mobile aircraft exhibit in the UK by Morayvia at Tesco, fun for all the family with Lofty Arts at Kinloss Village Hall, and much more.
Full details of the day's events are available via www.findhornbayarts.com
Culture Day will provide a free bus service that will travel a circular route between events ensuring that all are accessible. Buses will also provide a platform for artists to showcase their work, eg Music in Motion, Poets on Wheels and Moving Movies.