Edinburgh's St James Quarter to host exhibition featuring Scottish artists hit hard by the Covid pandemic

Scottish artists and designers, who were negatively affected by the Covid pandemic, will have their work displayed in a major exhibition in Edinburgh.

The work of around 50 independent creatives will be on display and for sale at the FLAIR art fair, which will take place in St James Quarter’s car park on level B3 from June 3-5.

A high street audience will be able to support the work of creative people whose businesses suffered during months of lockdown.

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The Coronavirus pandemic had a devastating impact on Scotland’s creative industries, with more than half of self-employed business owners reporting that their mental health suffered.

A survey of more than 200 artists, fashion, textile and jewellery designers, publishers, photographers at the height of the pandemic found fewer than one in ten continued to earn their full, pre-Covid salary, while half were earning less than 50% of their normal income.

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Lynzi Leroy, the entrepreneur behind the Scottish Design Exchange, who helped organise the event, said it was hoped the exhibition would help the artists to recover some of their lost earnings.

She said: “The nature of the industry is that most of its members work alone, often in remote areas, and the lockdown only added to their sense of isolation.

Lynzi Leroy, the entrepreneur behind the Scottish Design Exchange, with products made by Scottish artists and craftspeople

“Lacking the financial resilience of larger organisations, for many people the disruption to trade had a devastating impact on their income and many, because of the way they are paid, did not qualify for Government assistance.”

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Philippa Wilson-Buys, Director of event stagers 3D2D, said: “All the exhibitors have been selected for the richness and quality of their design and craftsmanship, commitment and flair.”

Carole Conchie, whose art is made from items she finds on the shore including driftwood and pebbles, said: “The pandemic was disappointing for many artists, many of whom struggled to sell anything at all.

“Most of us tried migrating to online but it’s different from selling in person. It’s so important to be able to talk to customers and to tell them about your work, how it’s done and where the ideas come from.

The work of around 50 Scottish creatives will be on display at the St James Quarter.
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“I’m really looking forward to the show at the St James Quarter. It’s such a landmark in an unusually designed building and it is a magnet for local shoppers and tourists alike.

“All of the exhibitors are really excited about the fair and we’re hoping it will be a fantastic opportunity for us to get our work out there and to show people the range of skills and talent in Scotland.”

Nick Peel, Managing Director at St James Quarter, said: “St James Quarter is a welcoming cultural and lifestyle hub for art, culture and fashion – a key pillar of the business we seek to embrace and develop, so we’re honoured to be supporting this event and hosting it in our car park.

“Supporting the local community is at the heart of what we do and it means a lot for us to be able to help talented artists after a tough couple of years. Our car park is an ideal space for exhibitions and events, so we’re excited to see it all come together and welcome guests for what is set to be an incredible weekend.”

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Lynzi Leroy, who helped organise the art fair, hopes it will help artists to recover some of their lost earnings.