The Society of Badenoch and Strathspey Artists
The Society of Badenoch and Strathspey Artists was founded at a public meeting in May 1995 following the successful trial of an Open Art Exhibition in the Iona Gallery, Kingussie, organised by Jean Noble.
At that time, Badenoch and Strathspey had a well-established tradition in its music Festival, but this was not mirrored in the visual arts. There were few opportunities for practising artists to show their work locally; and, at a national level, exhibition space at prestigious exhibitions (such as the Royal Scottish Academy or the Royal Glasgow Institute) is so competitive that most of the works submitted in any year are not displayed. However, there was undoubtedly a burgeoning interest in the visual arts, with the establishment of commercial galleries and, also, participation in art workshops and evening classes.
The SBSA was founded to provide an opportunity for local artists to exhibit their work publicly and possibly reap a commercial return. Many artists work in isolation, so an art exhibition also encourages them to meet and compare progress; at the same time, it informs an appreciative audience. The Society’s aim of holding an annual or biennial exhibition to show-case the best visual art in Badenoch and Strathspey seemed achievable within the locality, from the points of attracting sufficient potential exhibitors and of forming a committee of those willing to give their time and expertise.
Membership is open to any person or body who is interested in the objectives of the Society and thus includes supporters who claim never to have lifted a paintbrush (or chisel). The Art Exhibition, on the other hand, is open only to those with a connection to Badenoch and Strathspey. This exclusion of others and judicious ‘hanging’ has, so far, permitted most submitted works to be displayed at each exhibition.