Mural artworkshop success at Burns Cottage Gallery
Alloway Railway Tunnel ART charity has successfully completed their first mural art workshops in Burns Cottage Gallery involving over 850 adults and children.
People from across Ayrshire and pupils from Doonfoot and Alloway Primary schools have had the opportunity to get involved in what will be one of the largest murals in Scotland measuring 150 meters long.
When finished, the mural by one of the UK’s top muralists and visionaries Chris Rutterford and his partner Lubi Lykan, will transform an old, dilapidated tunnel that has been defaced with graffiti into a safe, inspiring place, encouraging more people to visit Alloway and enjoy a wonderful walking and cycling experience while learning more about Ayrshire heritage.
Chair of the Alloway Railway Tunnel, Ron Ireland says, “Our regeneration project has ambition, imagination and heritage at its heart. It’s much more than just painting a mural, this community activity is a wonderful opportunity to connect with others, learn about your Ayrshire heritage and leave your mark on history. By working together, we can create a bigger impact on our community.
“We are delighted to involve the whole of Alloway and Doonfoot primary schools in our art workshops. The children will learn creative skills and how to work collaboratively from a professional artist. Their work will be used to help form this massive mural and will create a sense of ownership and pride.
“We are also liaising with students from Ayrshire College by providing exciting work experience opportunities for the creative arts students. These opportunities will increase their skills, knowledge, experience and confidence and inspire them get started in their careers.
“Finally, we have promoted out workshops to the general public and local community groups and have had a fantastic response. Over the course of seven days, 300 people got involved in the first part of our mural project.
“We would like to thank the National Trust for Scotland and the team at Burns Cottage in Alloway for all their support and collaboration and providing this magnificent venue.”
Reflecting on the first mural art workshops, artist Chris Rutterford said, “We’ve had an incredible fortnight meeting the ‘honest men and bonnie lasses’ from Alloway town. It’s been hard work but incredibly productive. We are so grateful to have been allowed to use this fabulous gallery in a space that truly is one of the spiritual hearts of Scotland.
“The mural is looking fabulous, and I can’t wait to take it to the next stage. We are hoping for the first stage of the mural to be hung in time for Burns night 2024 with a view to progressing the other stages throughout 2025. All going well we hope to complete in January 2025. Our goal is to change the Alloway Tunnel from an eyesore into a vibrant new destination venue and a true community asset."
Caroline Smith, National Trust for Scotland Operations Manager for the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, said: “We were excited to welcome Chris Rutterford, the community groups and members of the public to Burns Cottage to take part in workshops linked to one of the largest and most ambitious art projects in Scotland.
The Cottage was a fantastic location to host these community engagement events with Chris on the Alloway Railway Tunnel mural, part of which runs past the museum.
It’s wonderful to see that Burns’ works, especially Tam o’Shanter which unfolds its spooky tale throughout Alloway, are continuing to inspire people of all ages to create something magical for the community.
Initiatives like this are an excellent way to engage different generations with the life and works of Scotland’s national poet, and they support our charity’s own activities to conserve and share over 5,000 artefacts from Burns’ life, poetry and songs, and to provide inspiring heritage visitor experiences.
Congratulations to Chris and the Alloway Railway Tunnel Project!”