A PROJECT aiming to give a voice to artists across Perthshire is helping to “regenerate” the area, according to one of the organisers.

The Perthshire Creative Trail was launched earlier this year and features 15 galleries and 32 artists in a bid to showcase the best work the area has to offer.

It is organised by Perthshire Open Studios and a map has been created which shows where galleries and artists are located, along with other points of interest including walks, distilleries and wineries as part of a handy guide to what’s on offer.

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Despite an initially slow start, Angela Thomson of Perthshire Open Studios said she’s delighted with how the project has gone since launching in April. “It allows people to sort out what part of Perthshire you want to go to and then you can go there and commission work and talk to various artists about their processes,” she told The National.

“It was something to make us think more year-round about the benefit to the artists and to help communities however we could.

“We think this can have a real economic benefit when artists don’t get as much work, over the winter months.”

She continued: “What we’re trying to do is create venues where people can maybe pop in for a winter exhibition and try to make this rural area as scenic as possible for tourists.

“It’s quite practical to come up here for the day, especially if you’re coming from the central belt, and we have all these places you can come and visit.”

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Thomson (pictured above) believes the project will benefit more than just the artists. “This very much has a wider benefit,” she said.

“A daytripper will stop for a cup of tea or a cake and go somewhere for lunch.

“We want it to grow the project so it’s not just covering various studios but cafes and pubs as well. The trail follows an easy route and it all makes sense because we need to regenerate parts of the area.”

Louise McLaren (below), who runs Studio 52 in Comrie, is among those taking part in the trail and she told The National she is reaping the benefits of the idea.

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She describes herself as a “papercut artist” which she explains means drawing her designs out in pencil before cutting them out with a scalpel.

McLaren said: “Lots of my early work is to do with love and family and friendship.

“I think as time has gone on obviously various things have happened in my life and the wider world so people might think some of them are more political.”

Asked about how the Creative Trail has helped her, McLaren said: “I’ve worked with Open Studios for 10 years and it’s an amazing thing to be a part of.

“It’s a great way to meet all these creative people and this year was the first time we did the Creative Trail.

“I generally work by myself so it’s great to have these people who are almost colleagues round about you who you have a shared interest with.

“It’s a great way of meeting people from different creative areas – we’ve got glass artists, sculptors and all these people I wouldn’t have necessarily met through my own work.”

She adds that following a successful launch, she hopes the Creative Trail can continue to develop, particularly after a lack of in-person events during the pandemic.

“It has definitely got the potential to do some interesting things. I’m all in favour of community, particularly in these modern times.”

Her thoughts are echoed by Thomson who is looking forward to the future as she looks to continue to help Perthshire tourism however she can.

“I think generally it’s been quite surprising how successful we’ve managed to get. We’ve got all these great artists on the trail right now,” she said.

“It’s been really well received so I think it’s just about trying to grow from that.”

The Perthshire Creative Trail can be found at perthshireopenstudios.com/trail-map/