The perfect Utopia for Scottish lovers of art

The idea of Utopia may be older than Thomas More’s famous book, but what could actually be gained from the concept, or possibly lost?

A personal utopia would surely be as individual as each of us, and our own personal imagination. Is this the difficulty with any proposed Utopian society? The power of the individual would make the construct a contradiction.

This idea is explored by members of the Society of Scottish Artists (SSA) with a selection of contemporary work in painting, drawing, print and mixed media displayed at Gracefield Arts Centre galleries 1 and 2 in Dumfries.

Chair of the Dumfries and Galloway Council communities committee, Councillor Andy Ferguson said: ‘The Society of Scottish Artists has been an important advocate for visual arts for over 100 years and it’s great to see this collaborative exhibition hosted here in Dumfries and Galloway.’

Vice chair of communities committee, Councillor John Martin added: ‘In these interesting times, it always great to see current ideas explored in art and think about your own Utopia whatever that is!’

Tomorrow (Saturday, August 31), from 2-4pm, the SSA President will give an introduction to the SSA and its aims. Sharon Quigley is an award-winning visual artist, whose own work balances interdisciplinary collaboration with a self-directed studio practice. Alongside her work for the SSA, she has successfully delivered well received exhibitions and public artworks within galleries and non- traditional art spaces, undertaking many artistic residencies, research-driven arts projects and public art commissions.

Throughout the exhibition there will be a chance to try out some art with weekend workshop by local and Scotland-based artists – including Leaf works with Jennie Ashmore, Screen-printing with Sarah Keats and Abstract painting, with Rowena Comrie. Contact the gallery on 01387 262084 to find out about all the workshops on offer and how to book your place.

Utopia runs at Gracefield until Saturday 2 November, open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm at 28 Edinburgh Road – to see this and other exhibitions and events across the Council’s arts and museums, visit