The Spey Bank Studio is officially open. Hurray! And we have our first exhibition, featuring work by acclaimed artists such as Campbell Bryson, Ann Vastano and Thomas MacGregor.
We welcomed family and friends to the studio on Friday night for the launch of Creative Capital, our inaugural art exhibition.
And we had some special guests to help. Hamish Napier, Grantown's favourite musician, was there to play some music, accompanied later by fiddler Eric Pirie.
But we were also delighted to have a link with the building's past.
Gavin Cullen, who was the bank manager for seven years from 1988, joined us to officially open the studio. It was great to have him and his wife Elma there - they are long-time friends of the Grant family.
Mr Cullen said he had “an emotional attachment” to the building and paid tribute to all the staff he worked with over the years.
He added: “It’s so exciting to see how the space is being used to encourage and nurture creativity in the Spey Valley and in particular, the talents of those artists displaying their work.
“I hope that the Spey Bank Studio flourishes for many years to come.”
Angus told the event: “This is a huge milestone for us. When we took over the space in December 2021, it was sometimes hard to imagine being able to invite people to a show like this. The project has been a big challenge – and a long-held ambition of mine to have a space for workshops and teaching.
“We feel really lucky to be in this space. It’s never been anything other than a bank until now and we hope that we’ve done its history justice.
“There are still hints of its financial past amid the transformation and it’s certainly something that has been in our minds throughout this project.”
The Creative Capital exhibition features art inspired by and made in Grantown-on-Spey. It features around 30 artists from the local area, including Ann Vastano, Campbell Bryson and Rona Kant, as well as locally-based artists Cathy Haworth, Joanna Wilson, James Gordon, and June Armstrong.
Thomas MacGregor and Andrew McIntosh, who both grew up in Grantown and are now forging successful careers in London, also submitted pieces.
MacGregor is a figurative and landscape painter. He was a recent finalist on Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year and featured in the same channel’s Portrait Artist of Year series.
Award-winning artist Andrew McIntosh, AKA Mackie, is known for his paintings of caravans containing portals to other worlds.
The exhibition is now open every day, 10am to 3pm, and finishes on October 22.