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Artist Rooms on tour 2015: A year of photography
Dan Flavin, untitled (to Don Judd, colorist) 1-5, 1987. Fluorescent tubes and metal, each piece 122 x 122 cm ARTIST ROOMS Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland. Lent by the Artist Rooms Foundation 2013.

EDINBURGH.- The National Galleries of Scotland and Tate are delighted to announced plans for the seventh year of ARTIST ROOMS On Tour. New exhibitions and displays will go on show at 17 venues across the UK in 2015 and a further seven exhibitions which opened in 2013-14 will continue their runs into next year.

13 venues will be showing ARTIST ROOMS displays for the first time, including Clydebank Museum and Art Gallery, and Kirkcaldy Galleries, which will mount exhibitions of work by the celebrated American photographers Robert Mapplethorpe and Diane Arbus.

Also in Scotland, Timespan in Helmsdale, Sutherland, which was part of the second ARTIST ROOMS tour in 2010, will be showing work by the hugely influential German artist Joseph Beuys, and the Pier Arts Centre in Orkney will become the most northerly venue in Britain to show work by Damien Hirst, with an ARTIST ROOMS display – featuring iconic works such as Away from the Flock - which opens in June.

2015 will be an outstanding year for photographic displays; a powerful collection of images by the internationally renowned photojournalist Don McCullin will be shown at two venues on Shetland, opening this November and continuing until February 2015. Following the Clydebank display, Robert Mapplethorpe’s stunning images will also be shown at the Bowes Museum, County Durham, and Aberystwyth Arts Centre; and the fascinating display of photographs by Francesca Woodman currently on show at Oriel Davies, Powys, continues until next spring.

Speaking of the tour launch, John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “Artist Rooms is making a very significant contribution to the artistic landscape of Scotland, creating opportunities for new publics to access world-class contemporary art in venues the length and breadth of the country. Audiences have been increasing and the future programme will involve both existing and new partners in Scotland in the effort to build on that success.”

Across the rest of the UK the 2015 tour will also include venues in Blackburn, Carlisle, Cheltenham, Norwich, Penzance, Peterborough, Plymouth, Sleaford, Southampton and St Ives.

By the end of 2015, ARTIST ROOMS will have been shown in 78 museums and galleries nationwide and 149 displays and exhibitions will have opened since 2009. ARTIST ROOMS have been seen by over 31 million people to date. The tour is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and through the continued support of the Art Fund and, in Scotland, intended support from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

The total number of artists now part of the ARTIST ROOMS collection is 39. This year saw the addition of an important group of works by the great American artist Dan Flavin, who created some of the most iconic works of Minimalism, which is currently on show at the Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries. These join recent acquisitions of the work of Alex Katz, Douglas Gordon and Louise Bourgeois.

Venues have once again seen record numbers visit ARTI ST ROOMS displays. Highlights have included the Gilbert & George display at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter, which had 69,805 visits. This was the first showing of the artists’ work as part of the tour.

Last year the first ARTIST ROOMS MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), which was organised in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and focussed on Andy Warhol, was launched. The total number to register for the course (the first art MOOC dedicated to a single artist and the first such course to be developed in the museums and galleries sector), was 27,669. Participants came from 155 countries. Its success will continue when it runs again in 2015 and 2016.

ARTIST ROOMS learning programmes, peer-led youth groups and young ambassadors' schemes continue to develop. In November, Young Ambassadors from Shetland who will have been studying the photographs of Don McCullin on show at the Bonhoga Gallery and Shetland Museum & Archives, will be travelling to Tate Modern in London to meet the photographer. The group’s experiences will inform an exhibition curated by them, also to be displayed in Shetland.

Young people taking part in learning programmes at Associate venues (outside Edinburgh and London) during the period of 2009-12 was 88,601. A recent evaluation of ARTIST ROOMS covering the project’s first three years revealed 11% of 13-25 year-olds taking part came from the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods. 41% of participants in learning programmes were new to the venue and 52% had not heard of the artist before. The evaluation also revealed that 81% said they had learned something new and 50% said they had learned new ways of making art, increasing their skills and confidence.

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