Scottish Carnival Arts
Scottish Carnival Arts, a non-profit organisation, was founded in 1996 by artist Lindsay John. Its original remit – to stage Midsummer Festivals based on John's interest in Trinidadian carnival culture – was developed and extended by SCA's project co-ordinator, Julie Murray.
Today, Scottish Carnival Arts is a unique, community business with a broad portfolio of events and workshops that bring together and promote many of Glasgow's artists and the city's local and international communities.
A large part of SCA's colourful and creative reputation is due to its knack for combining the talents of public volunteers with its in-house and associated artists, creating spectacular traditional carnival costumes and lanterns.
For the past few years, the organisation has staged a range of international carnivals and festivals in Glasgow and has been involved in many of the city's successful, ongoing multicultural events, such as the Knightswood and Eastend Carnivals and the West End Festival's street carnival.
On November 2nd 2003, it successfully staged The Day of the Dead in Glasgow's Merchant City, a day of events that culminated in a fancy dress lantern procession through the city.
This celebration – a traditionally Mexican festival rooted in ancient, bloody rituals and spiritual beliefs - built on and bettered the original collaboration between Scottish Carnival Arts and the Glasgow Print Studio, piloted in 2002.
The Day of the Dead is the kind of event that SCA specialises in and, typically, it captured the imagination and commitment of both the public and the organisation's carnival artists. Throughout October, twice-weekly workshops were devoted to creating a huge range of masks and lanterns.
It was thanks to the creative and organisational skills of SCA and some talented Glasgow artists – such as Ashley Cook (of the Glasgow Print Workshop), Shirley Girdwood, Alan Cairns and Leigh Howlings - that the city was able to play host to such a unique, multi-cultural event.
In addition to developing and maintaining close ties with a variety of local artists, SCA works diligently to sustain a close relationship with communities and schools throughout Glasgow. Several local community groups, including the Maryhill Refugee Network, and The Scottish Refugee Council, are regularly involved in SCA's programme of events and workshops.
As a result of this grass-roots philosophy – and also due to its spacious and versatile city centre premises, donated by Glasgow City Council - the organisation runs a busy events venue for Glasgow's South American, African, Moroccan and Spanish communities.
It's also one of the few places in Scotland to hold workshops for percussion, samba drumming, salsa and African dance and circus skills. Up to six workshops take place every week and the SCA intends to extend this area of its portfolio next year. For example, carnival training workshops are already planned. Currently, work is underway to stage a traditional Mid-Winter festival in December 2003.
Key to Scottish Carnival Arts ongoing success – and its ability to maintain its status as a viable community business – is the continued interest and involvement of volunteers. If you are interested in registering or would like to find out more about its portfolio of workshops and events, contact us.
For further information, contact:
Scottish Carnival Arts
34 Albion Street
Glasgow G1 1LH
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