A vibrant new arts centre is set to open in the Fife coastal village of Lower Largo next year in a former church building being returned to community use.
Through the collective efforts of local residents Carol and Andy Duff along with community interest company, Largo Arts, the former Largo Baptist Church has been secured as a new community arts venue.
Carol and Andy purchased the former church from the Baptist Union of Scotland earlier this year and will rename it “The Aurrie” after the seafront area where the building is situated.
The centre will host arts events throughout the year and is to become the centrepiece of Largo Arts Week, which will take place in the summer of 2021.
Largo Arts Community Interest Company directors Dougi McMillan and Andrew Stenson will manage The Aurrie, while Largo Arts itself will oversee Largo Arts Week and provide a platform for additional artistic events to take place throughout the year to support and work with partner groups across the community.
Creative director Dougi McMillan explained: “Carol and Andy Duff are to be commended for enabling us to establish this exciting new arts venue in Fife.
“Their aim is to ensure the building is used for the benefit of the local community and visitors to the Largo area.
“We are in advanced discussions with them to transform the building into a creative, vibrant arts centre and café.
“In the longer-term, the new company, Largo Arts CIC, will lease and run the building as a focal point for a range of community arts engagements.
“The Aurrie will offer an exhibition area, performance venue and event workshop space throughout the year.
“Largo Arts Week has been a fantastic vehicle for introducing a wide range of local community talent to visitors across Scotland and beyond.
“But it’s also limited by its one-week duration and there are many opportunities across the calendar year to introduce pop-up events, open studios and other arts-based activities.”
The inaugural Largo Arts Week in 2019 was established to recognise the 300th anniversary of the publication of Robinson Crusoe – inspired by Alexander Selkirk, who was born in Lower Largo.
The festival featured a stellar line-up of acts, with highlights including sell-out performances from comedian Phil Jupitus and world-renowned sculptor David Mach, 36 artists exhibiting their work in 38 venues across the village and a hugely popular programme of creative workshops, family events and painting competitions.
The 2020 festival was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s hoped the next Largo Arts Week will be held in the summer of 2021.
Andy Duff added: “We are delighted that we could work with Dougi and Andrew from Largo Arts CIC to ensure one of the last community buildings within the village has a future for the community, and has been protected from the risk of residential development.
“We’d also like to thank the Baptist Union of Scotland for helping enable our vision for this fine building, and we hope that their local members will enjoy using the building in its new form.
“The Aurrie will provide a permanent facility which will benefit the community for years to come.”