Friday, 11 December 2015

The walls are almost up

Last week, our Capital Project Manager Catharine Kidd, picked a better day to visit the Artist Centre construction site. With most of the walls up and the skies overhead brighter and clearer than of late, Catharine shares with us her update, including an insight into the wonderful views visitors to the new building in 2016 can expect to experience:
View from the scaffold of the new accommodation and studio units
The walls are almost up and whilst we wait for the roof to arrive, the shape of the new Artist Centre building is really emerging now.  The internal walls are defining the spaces within and the generous window openings from the communal areas are being formed from large bits of steel, to maximise on those great views out over Loch Long.  The new artist accommodation and studios are really shaping up with the roof expected to be up by Christmas.

Below are further images from Catharine's visits to the site in late November.
View towards the new accommodation and studios, the big openings waiting for the French doors
View towards the main frontage of the building and entrance, from a very muddy area that will become a welcoming courtyard

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Another Green World

Another Green World: Linn Botanic Gardens, Encounters with a Scottish Arcadia is a beautiful new book on one of Scotland's most impressive botanical gardens located on the Rosneath Peninsula, just a short drive from Cove Park.

Since encountering Linn during her residency at Cove Park in 2011, artist Alison Turnbull has worked with award-winning writer Philip Hoare on realising the publication. Alison's photographs and drawings and Philip's essay in the book are complemented by local photographer Ruth Clark's stunning images of the Gardens.

Cove Park have a limited number of books available for sale on our website and for this weekend only from the Cove & Kilcreggan Book Festival 2015. Proceeds from the sale of each book purchased from us will be donated to Linn Botanic Gardens.

Another Green World in the press
'A beautifully crafted artwork.'
Timothy Mowl, Times Higher Education, 5 November 2015

'The book is a unique representation of the garden's place in the landscape... A work of art in itself.'
Marianne Taylor, The Herald, 24 October 2015

'Linn Botanic Gardens: A Scottish Arcadia - in pictures'
Philip Hoare, The Guardian, 15 October 2015

Cove Park and Linn Gardens, Alison Turnbull, October 2015
'Artists find a Cove Park residency inviting because it comes with no specific requirements or rules of engagement - other than the opportunity for ‘inspired thinking’.

I arrived at Cove Park in the summer of 2011 with the intention of developing a new group of paintings and drawings.  Little did I realise that there, on its doorstep, I would also discover a unique and idiosyncratic botanic garden that would prompt me to new ways of working and lead to a collaboration with a writer, a photographer and an ecologist - not to mention two botanists, Jim Taggart and his son Jamie, the creators – and curators – of Linn Botanic Gardens.

These encounters resulted in the publication Another Green World - Linn Botanic Gardens published by Art/Books in association with Cove Park, designed by A Practice For Everyday Life and generously funded by Creative Scotland.

Working on the book has been an absorbing experience. After Jamie’s tragic disappearance in Vietnam in 2013 we decided – with Jim’s blessing – to continue with the project. If Another Green World – the book, and the exhibition that accompanies it at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh – help in some small way to safeguard the future of Linn Gardens, it will give me great satisfaction.'

Another Green World is published by Art/Books and supported by Creative Scotland and Historic Scotland

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Landscape and poly tunnel research recce at Kilfinan

Last week we visited the amazing growing spaces at Kilfinan Community Forest in Tighnabruaich. Despite the torrential rain and grey skies we ventured around the allotments and spent time finding out about the huge success they’ve had with their poly tunnel, now its own social enterprise Kyles Allotment Group. We were also treated to a visit to their new hydroelectric generator and sites for camping, crofting and affordable housing built from timber from the land. Thanks to Nikki Brown and Sara McLean for showing us around and imparting words of wisdom!

We are still considering how to move forward with our plans for the 50-acre Cove Park site and we will let you know how our plans develop.

Friday, 13 November 2015

New visualisation of Artist Centre's exterior

A new visualisation of the Artist Centre's exterior by Cameron Webster Architects arrived in our inbox this week. It is great to see what the building will look like and get a sense of its scale and context in the landscape. The spring meadow in the foreground anticipates completion of the building in April 2016 and certainly brightens up the grey wintery (yes it has arrived!) day we are experiencing on the peninsula today.

Read more about the Clark Contracts' construction of the building on Scottish Construction Now.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Beginning to take shape

Our Capital Project Manager Catharine Kidd, braved today's dreich weather to provide us with a construction update: 

The new building is really beginning to take shape with the sub walls and the beam and block floor structure now in place (brought in by the crane featured in an earlier post). The footprint and elevation of the new building can really be seen as the outline of the new spaces emerge from the muddy ground. On a good day (not today!), the views out across Loch Long that the new building will embrace can already be appreciated. We are anticipating the arrival and erection of the timber frame of the building over the next few weeks, the sole plates for fixing this are already in place.

Foundations of new accommodation units and studios.

View across footprint of snug and meeting room (not a good day for appreciating the views!)
View of the new building from ground level.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Taking inspiration from our neighbours

Yesterday we were privileged to visit Kilmahew / St Peters, invited by our neighbours NVA. It was wonderful to tour the site and hear from Angus Farquhar, Clare Simpson and Rebecca Powrie the future plans for the unique exhibition and performance space. Peering into the building and exploring locations such as the walled garden in the wider Victorian designed landscape, we got a real sense of the ambition and scale of the project and forthcoming programme soon to be realised on our doorstep in Argyll & Bute.

The opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences of capital development projects and arts programmes was really nourishing and gave us the chance to think about opportunities for working together in the future.

Thanks Angus for producing a flask of warm tea which provided us with much needed fuel after a few hours in the foggy outdoors.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Goings on above the tree line

From Oak Pod we can hear and occasionally see what is happening with the build of the new Artist Centre. As we progress into Autumn and the trees shed their leaves more of the construction site is exposed from this low vantage point. Even more will become apparent as the building takes shape and appears above the tree line. The enormous crane that appeared on the horizon last week is an essential piece of kit to make that happen in the coming weeks.

Crane action shots to follow!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

A Flight of Swallows supports our new Artist Centre

The swallows that twist and turn around Cove Park during the summer months are on their journey south for the winter. A few swallows, of the porcelain variety, however do remain.

Designed and hand cast by ceramicist and former resident Dawn Youll the unique edition of swallows are available for sale with proceeds going towards the Artist Centre. Find out more about purchasing a single or pair of swallows and how you can feature on our 'A Flight of Swallows' wall in recognition of your support on the Cove Park website here.

A pair of swallows taking flight south to Manchester to a Cove Park supporter 
We look forward to welcoming the swallows back to Cove Park next year and see them sweep and weave around the new Artist Centre.   

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Cove Park landscape open day

Friday 9 October 2015 saw a great turnout for our consultation with our local community about ways in which we can develop and improve access to our spectacular 50 acre site. Proposals include the planting of a native woodland, a poly tunnel for growing fruit and vegetables and developing links with our neighbouring woodlands: Peaton Hill Community Nature Reserve and Peaton Glen Wood. 

Community woodland specialists Gordon Gray Stephens and Will Self took representatives from key organisations in our local area on a walk round the site and canvassed their ideas and opinions.

With Cove Park's new Artist Centre due to open in April 2016, the opportunity will exist for all kinds of workshops, masterclasses and other creative activities to be offered to local communities and beyond. Our intention with the site plans is to complement the opportunities afforded by the new building. Opportunities for volunteering, school gardening and environmental projects, John Muir Award activities, environmental art and local heritage studies were all discussed. 

Following the open day, Will Self is now producing an interim report which will then be made available to those who were there, and those who could not make it on the day for further comment.

If you have any ideas about how to develop and improve access to our site, we would love to hear them! Please email Polly Clark on

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Keeping an eye on progress

Marvellous! We have two time lapse cameras recording the construction of the Artist Centre. Site Manager Jamie hopes to hand over some footage to us in the next couple of weeks which we will share with you here. Please return.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Its official! 'Construction of Cove Park's new Artist Centre begins'

Today we announced our delight that the construction of our new Artist Centre had begun and is due for completion in April 2016.

The £1.4 million capital project is funded by Creative Scotland and a number of trusts and individuals, including major awards from the Robertson and the Monument Trusts. The new Centre has been designed by architects CameronWebster and is being built by Clark Contracts for Cove park's expanding programmes of artist residencies and public events, with spaces for workshops and performances and comfortable communal space for visitors. 

The build includes two accommodation units and two studios, which will increase Cove Park's capacity to twelve and allow a greater diversity of residencies for individuals and groups.

The Centre will be fully disabled accessible, is designed on sustainable principles and enables Cove Park to host residencies and events all year round. The orientation of the new building will maximise views across Loch Long, so that visitors and artists will for the first time be able to enjoy Cove Park's spectacular west coast setting in all weathers.

Chair of Cove Park's Board, Seona Ried said:
"This is an exciting time for Cove Park. The Centre will offer facilities for artists and the public that will enhance our growing international reputation as a centre of excellence for the arts."

Lesley MacDonald of the Robertson Trust said:
"The Robertson Trust supports projects and activities which widen access and increase participation in all forms of artistic activities for people throughout Scotland. We are delighted to support this new phase in the history of Cove Park." 

Abraham Cruzvillegas, recipient of the Hyundai Commission at Tate Turbine Hall and Cove Park resident in 2008 said:
"Cove Park's residency programme has been crucial as it provided me not only with lots of freedom in terms of the development of my practice, but also an immense experience of learning and sharing with others."

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Foundations provide blank canvas for new Artist Centre

The foundations of the old centre have been revealed and are ready for the new Artist Centre to be built upon. We will post updates here regularly so do return and see how we are getting on with the construction.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Demolition commences

The first step in realising Cove Park's new Artist Centre has been taken - namely demolition! Clark Contracts made short, sharp work to raze the well loved but weary centre to the ground in 4 days.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

New phone number

Our new temporary home requires a new temporary phone number. If you need to call us, do so on 01436 455063!

Friday, 4 September 2015

Looking forward to the new Artist Centre

This evening we welcomed members of our local community, funders and supporters to engage with our plans for the new Artist Centre and the potential this improved space offers to develop our residency and public programmes. 

Guests heard from Architect of the new Artist Centre, Miranda Webster of Cameron Webster, our Chair, Seona Reid and Director, Julian Forrester.

The major capital redevelopment programme, funded by Creative Scotland and a number of trusts and individuals, will allow us to significantly develop our residency programme and for the first time offer an expanded and fully integrated education and participatory programme from Summer 2016. 

At the gathering we invited people to tell us how they thought a public programme of creative activities could be developed relative to their organisation, projects or initiatives for the benefit of the region. Thus we initiated conversations we plan to continue with our local and regional community.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Goodbye armchairs

To most this is just a photograph of a couple of armchairs in a skip. However, for many who have passed through Cove Park this image signifies the end of an era as we do the final clear out of the existing centre's contents prior to its imminent demolition.

Love or hate them, the donated chintz armchairs were a comfortable, homely feature of the centre. Further, it is rumoured the printed, patterned chairs inspired photographic and drawn works by residents. If you are one of said residents, please share your artworks and indeed your memories with us! In latter years the armchairs were strictly Hamish the dog's domain for dozing the day away.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Our temporary home

Whilst the work on our new Artist Centre is carried out we have created a temporary home for Cove Park's office, the communal residents space and facilities down site in Oak Pod.

It's a cosy set up for residents, staff and visitors. All available space is being optimised, including putting staffs' desks in the Pod bedrooms - our Director Julian doesn't seem to mind one bit.


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Cove & Kilcreggan Youth Cafe pay us a visit

Wonderful weather this evening for a visit from all at Cove & Kilcreggan Youth Cafe. 

As a partner in the Argyll Youth Arts Hub we invited the Youth Cafe to explore the international arts centre they have on their doorstep, meet some of our residents and tell us more about what creative activities they would like to pursue. The BBQ on the soon to be gone decking fuelled exciting discussions about what the young people were wanting to do creatively and how Cove Park could make that happen. One thing high on their agenda was dance as proved by a group of dancers who were opportune in turning the centre, rapidly being emptied of its contents in anticipation of our move, into the perfect performance space and thus beginning our farewell to the existing building.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Its been a while since our last blog post in June 2013!! The reason for this is that our capital project has been delayed by a year, due mostly to funds.  But alot has been going on, some serious fundraising has been under way and we are due to start with the demolition of the centre building in June this year - hard hats at the ready!

As well as receiving funds from generous individuals, trusts and foundations we have also been working with ceramic artist Dawn Youll, commissioning her to make a limited edition of porcelain swallows for people to purchase and show their support. These beautiful birds return annually to Cove Park to build nests and hatch their young. Their arched silhouettes darting about the sky above the site has become a very prominent feature of the summer residency programme and so the swallow was chosen as a motif reflecting both the migrant nature of our programme of artists and visitors and also the sense of belonging that is developed which encourages people to return.

These can be purchased as a single piece or as a pair (one plain porcelain & one mother of pearl) from our website or by contacting Cove Park directly on 01436 850123.

Blog updates will become more regular as the project gathers momentum and we will be recording the demolition and construction as it happens so watch this space!............

    2 of our Cove Park 'Swallows' (porcelain) Dawn Youll 2014/15