The Moray Art Centre has secured a place on the final list of projects for the People’s Millions competition, giving them a chance to win a cash prize of ££50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
This is the second time that they have been in this position. The first was three years ago when they walked away victorious and used the money towards the construction of the arts centre itself.
This year their project is to create an “Alice in Wonderland” garden. This magical, mystery garden is designed to be an outside art studio where classes can draw and paint flowers, trees, fruit and vegetables. Also included in the design is a place for young people where they can learn about caring for the environment, growing plants and sustainable practices.
According to Diane Smith, the centre’s manager, it is not just a space where you would grow and draw plants but a place for eating them, too! “We would even like a pizza oven in the garden, so the children can eat what they have grown.”
As well as ovens to cook food, kilns will be built to fire clay art items made in the centre and a wood turning area where you could even learn to make plates for your pizza.
Environmental learning tools like bug boxes and bird box cameras will allow people to get closer to wildlife and bat detectors and microscopes will bring a different view.
The “Alice In Wonderland” element is all part of the fun with mazes, hidden areas and lots of surprises. The theme sprang from ideas mooted by the community at special “Big Draw” sessions where they were asked what sort of garden they would like to see on land in front of the centre.
“We had some focus groups and asked people what they would like to see,” said Diane. “Mysterious with fun and interesting areas was what came out of it.”
The garden will put the finishing touches to the art centre, which has been built entirely through funding and cash raised by the public, and will be open all year round and free to the public. They also hope to create a sculpture garden which would show the work of local and international artists on a regular basis and, of course, be somewhere just to sit and watch the garden grow.
The project will be featured on the ITV STV North regional evening news programme on 25 November 2008 at 6pm. Viewers will be asked to choose between this project and one other in the same region. Voting details will be available from 9am on Tuesday 25 November at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/peoplesmillions
So if you want to support this wonderful cause get voting next Tuesday!
Further information about the garden can be found at the Moray Art Centre website or contact them via email at