Top Scottish arts organisation in shock closure

NVA blames loss of funding and strains of ambitious restoration plan

Scottish public arts organisation NVA is to close after abandoning its ambitious plans to rescue an iconic modernist building.

NVA said the failure of its project to restore the ruin of a St Peter’s seminary in Argyll, and the loss of it core funding made closure ‘inevitable.’

NVA had been due to start work on turning the ruins of St Peter's into a permanent arts venue late last year. It had reached its £7m funding target for the project, with help from Creative Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Since 2013, NVA spent £2.3m on the building.

But in a statement, released yesterday, the company revealed it had to pull out of the “high risk” project as it was "unable to guarantee [its] viable future".

NVA added, "the process of trying to define and secure that future and our own, has reinforced the many financial and structural challenges facing the company.This was compounded when our bid to Creative Scotland for RFO core funding in January 2018 was unsuccessful."

It said the NVA board had concluded "with sadness" that the company would not be able to continue.

In 2015/16, NVA received 17% of its income - £230,000 - from Creative Scotland.

It was one of 15 organisations which lost their funding this year - a move which sparked a backlash in the arts community and the resignation of two board members.

NVA began its work in 1992 and made a name for itself, under creative director Angus Farquhar, for producing ground-breaking public art in iconic spaces such as the Isle of Skye and Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. In 2012 St Peter's Seminary was the stage for a light and sound show.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced an enquiry into the long term future of the seminary, which was built in 1966 for the Archdiocesse of Glasgow but has remained unused for more than years.

She added: "It is very sad that NVA has taken the decision to close. Since its foundation 25 years ago, it had earned a reputation as one of the most innovative public arts companies in the country.

Its final project is a production with artist Rachel Maclean due this summer.

A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland said: "NVA has been one of Scotland's most creatively ambitious companies, producing ground-breaking work that has attracted national and international attention, including their ambitious plans for St Peter's Seminary.

"We appreciate how difficult this decision has been for the board and staff of NVA and will continue to offer support and advice to all those involved."



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