Perthshire Visual Arts Forum

April 2, 2015 by Perthshire Creates

Now ten years old, PVAF has been a catalyst for strengthening the local visual arts community over the years. It has brought together artists locally and internationally through exhibitions, residencies, events and its annual forum. Keen to find out more, Perthshire Creates met Chris Partridge, Helen O’Brien, Mary Golden of PVAF’s committee.

The idea behind PVAF grew from conversations between a few local artists back in 2004; they were keen to explore how to get artists out of their studios to meet and collaborate, and combat the challenges of working remotely and often facing rural isolation.

The first Forum event in 2005 attracted speakers from as far afield as Japan and Denmark and ever since there has always been an international and outward looking approach to PVAF’s work. Artists have also travelled from New Zealand, the Baltic countries, Scandinavia, Northern Europe and Spain to take part in the Forums.

Japanese artists exhibition at Birnam Arts copy

Run by a voluntary group of artists living and working in and around Perth, PVAF offers inspiration, information and opportunities for career oriented artists. PVAF now has over 250 members and although many are based locally, many come from across the UK and internationally.

PVAF’s programme of events have include members exhibitions, salons which provide artists with an opportunity to meet and discuss topics of common interest with fellow local artists, professional development Masterclasses and forums which enable artists to connect and have the space to review, reflect and discuss their work.

One example of their many past exhibitions include Remix, which was PVAF’s international touring show, and launched in 2006. Artists were invited to contribute to the archive of over 300 CD case artworks. The show travelled and gathered new works from each location in Germany, China and Lithuania connecting artists across the world, over several years.

RemixImage for Birnam RGB copy 3

The network’s collaborative spirit has enabled them to take on projects of scale – such as running the area’s first Fire and Ice Festival back in 2010. Despite the particularly harsh winter conditions that year, artists led raku ceramic workshop, willow lanterns construction sessions, master classes in ice carving and fire sculptures, before culminating in a celebratory event for the community.

For their tenth anniversary this year, PVAF plans to run a number of special events alongside their regular programme, to find out more join the free network to receive the news.

Visiting Dunfermline printmakers copy

This year offers the chance to reflect back on the last ten years and explore what the needs of the visual arts community are now; and therefore what the future ahead might look like for PVAF as an artist led organisation.

Having achieved a great deal over the last decade, it’s a strong foundation for PVAF and its collective members to work towards an equally ambitious vision for the next ten years.

“Getting involved with like minded artists has definitely inspired and supported the development of my own practice” Mary Golden and Facebook: PVAF.


PVAF Exhibition Opening Perth Concert Hall copy 2