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Highland bakery has new recipe to help artists


By Val Sweeney

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Upstairs Gallery curator Jayne Austin.
Upstairs Gallery curator Jayne Austin.

Customers at a baker’s shop in Inverness will be able to admire work by local artists when popping in to buy their loaves of bread thanks to a joint venture with a community art gallery.

Family-owned bakery Ashers stepped in to offer wall space after hearing that the Upstairs Gallery had made the difficult decision to put its 2021 programme on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The gallery is based in the offices of architects HRI Munro in Academy Street and serves as a springboard for a broad range of artists and fresh talent.

But after reading in the Inverness Courier that the gallery was suspending its programme, George Asher stepped in to offer wall space at the bakery’s Union Street shop which also has a café.

The artwork on display.
The artwork on display.

Upstairs Gallery curator Jayne Austin welcomed the offer from the bakery.

"It’s been a strange and challenging time for everyone," she said.

"When I initially heard of George’s offer I couldn’t quite envisage how it might work.

"Then I thought about the year we’ve faced and decided to turn it into an opportunity.

"I approached the artists who’d exhibited at Upstairs and explained the idea and was pleased with the positive response."

Work by 12 artists is on display.
Work by 12 artists is on display.

Work by 12 artists, including Ms Austin, has been on display for the enjoyment of customers.

Artists retain ownership but if a particular piece grabs people’s attention they are invited to contact the individual artist directly for more information.

Ms Austin added: "Our hope is that this collaboration will raise spirits."

The other artists showcasing their work in the shop are Leah Davis, Michael Gallacher, Morton Gillespie, Drew Hillier, Owen Hope, Randy Klinger, Emma Nightingale, Rod Purcell, Nigel Sandeman, Jean Urquhart and Mark Williams.

The work on display at Asher's shop in Union Street.
The work on display at Asher's shop in Union Street.

Related story: Curator of community art gallery stages online exhibition after it closed due to coronavirus pandemic


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