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Pittenweem Harbour

Pittenweem Arts

There’s something about traditional fishing harbours and communities that attracts artists. Like St Ives in Cornwall and Provincetown in Cape Cod, Pittenweem’s reputation as a centre of art excellence grows apace and the town and surrounding areas are now home to many artists

One of the pivotal events supporting this growth is the annual Pittenweem Arts Festival held during the first full week of August each year. The festival’s inception followed an exhibition of photographs of “Old Pittenweem” in 1981, compiled by Joyce Laing at her historic home, Kellie Lodging, and the following year the Pittenweem Arts Festival opened for business with a handful of locals and artists opening up their houses and studios as exhibition spaces.

Pittenweem Arts Festival 2003

The festival has grown steadily such that in 2003, celebrating its 21st anniversary, the festival boasted some 75 venues as well as a multitude of musical and cultural events and workshops. Many festivals have a fireworks display as a finale; in Pittenweem this is the kick-off event. It started in the mid 80s with a torchlight procession through the town following the opening musical event, culminating in a fireworks display on the shore and the tradition continues to this day.

The Arts Festival is a registered charity and, although it receives some Arts Council grants, it is largely self-funding, supporting itself through donations, raffles, artists’ donations and the events themselves. Over the years the festival has played host to a number of artists of national repute including Ian Hamilton Finlay, John Bellany and Will Mclean.

Pittenweem Arts Festival 2004

For the last 15 years the organisation of the event has been alternately chaired by Bill Stevenson and Susan Curphey and for 2004 the baton has been handed to John Lowrie. The 2004 Pittenweem Arts Festival takes place between 7-15 August and this year the showcase event is the Glasgow-based Bath Street Boys who will be exhibiting in the Town Hall.

Pittenweem Artists

There are over 50 artists living and working in the East Neuk and many of them exhibit and sell their work several times a year during "East Neuk Open Studios" events. This year the midsummer opening is on the weekend of 19/20 June.

The following artists live and work in, or are closely associated with Pittenweem.

Tim Cockburn

Tim paints whimsical scenes of everyday life, generally consisting of gatherings of people who are often to be found Scottish dancing and occasionally engaged in pastimes such as eating in restaurants, or playing golf, chess and cards.

Tim Cockburn

Reinhard Behrens

Reinhard trained at Hamburg College of Art, moving to Scotland in 1979. He is a part-time lecturer at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee University. His inspiration comes largely from beachcombing trips, and he depicts found objects in a realistic style.

Reinhard Behrens

Margaret Smyth

Margaret’s paintings evoke the magical atmosphere of the theatre, the subject matter ranging from puppets, toy theatres and mechanical toys to quotations and dance. The visual style is Renaissance, the resulting collage often set against a background of Italian landscapes.

Margaret Smyth

Jimmy Mackinnon

A former Director of Architectural Studies at the University of Dundee, Jimmy paints watercolours inspired by the natural landscape of the Firth of Forth.

Jimmy Mackinnon

John Lowrie

John is an indigenous landscape artist, his family having lived for generations in the East Neuk. His work, in oil and mixed media, is inspired by the local landscape.

John Lowry

Pittenweem Art Galleries

The Weem - An exhibition gallery in the High Street run by Bill Stevenson with contemporary art exhibitions commencing in April 2004

Heron Gallery and Bistro - also in the High Street. The Heron is run by Mary Calder and Peter Hodgson and here you can enjoy delicious food amidst an exhibition of Scottish Contemporary Art. Open daily from March.

Fisher Studio and Gallery - run by Jan and John Fisher, the gallery features works by Jan and daughter Anna, as well as by local artists. Open daily from March and located in the High Street.

Trinity Arts - on Mid Shore, Trinity Arts is run by Paul Wallace. Works by local artists are on sale along with artists’ requisites. A picture framing service is also available.

Pittenweem Antiques/Art shops

Lumsden Antiques - the antique shop on East Shore is run by David and Anne Strickland and offers a wide range of quality 19th and 20th century ceramics, jewellery, paintings and furniture. David also offers a full furniture restoration service.

Arbour Antiques and Arts - located in the High Street the Arbour sells antiques and collectables including period furniture and period and modern paintings.

Little Gallery - run by Ursula Ditchburn, the gallery sells small antiques and modern paintings and holds exhibitions several times a year.

Gingerbread Horse - craft, gift shop and tea room in the High Street run by Ian Solly ands Isabel Willshaw. Here you can also pick up the key for St Fillan’s Cave.

Camac Jewellery - David Mackin produces handmade jewellery comprising precious and semi-precious stones set in gold and sterling silver.

A J Nicholson - John Nicholson runs the sweetie shop on Mid Shore and this has to be included as a living artistic venue. Here you will find untold quantities of sweeties in jars (120 different varieties at the height of the season) that you remember from your childhood such as rhubarb and custard rock. You can also buy delicious Janetta’s ice cream.

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