When Fife-based artist Lada Wilson came across an iconic red BT telephone box doomed to be condemned, she knew immediately what she was going to do.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to turn it into a gallery’!” she says.
So Lada set about making this dream a reality by pitching her vision to the local Strathkinness Community Trust.
Soon, as part of BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme, the trust managed to purchase it for just £1.
Now the tiny 201 Telephone Box Gallery in the village of Strathkinness is celebrating three years of art shows with a fun new exhibition.
Strathkinness resident Lada is the founder and curator of the gallery. She’s also an artist and a lecturer at Perth College UHI.
Since opening in 2018 there have been more than 20 exhibitions in the compact space that measures just 86cm x 86cm x 200cm.
“This project started as giving back to the community,” Lada explains. “As an artist, I always seek unusual places to exhibit. I knew there were similar projects like Gallery on the Green in Yorkshire. I’ve now got people coming to me from across the country asking how I did it.”
The 201 Telephone Box Gallery is not the only telephone box art gallery in the UK, or Scotland, but it’s most definitely the smallest in Fife. It specialises in contemporary, community-led art by national and international artists.
Lada reveals it got its name from the final three digits of the old phone number: “In the olden days, people used to answer the phone by saying: ‘Hello, Strathkinness 201’.”
The community trust has given the kiosk a lick of red paint and Lada always ensures it’s clean and pristine.
She says exhibitions must have some connection to communication: “The artist can interpret communication because that was the original use of the phone box. As a curator, it is my joy to discover and support the many ideas they come up with.”
The new exhibition is called Uncoordinated Movement by Dundee-based artistic couple Rhona Jack and Calum Wallis. It’s a makeshift drawing machine that invites people to play and make their own mark using a specially-constructed tool.
The gallery is always open and the exhibition runs until July 25. Lada adds: “The door is open 24/7 and people can look it. Normally you can’t step inside because the space is used pretty fully. You can also look at it from the outside.”