Director’s vision for Hospitalfield

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THE NEW director of Hospitalfield House has outlined her vision for the estate and its art treasures.

Lucy Byatt spoke to the Arbroath Herald last week about her plans, which include attracting more artists, making the collections more accessible and making new ‘friends’.

Lucy took up the post at the Hospitalfield Centre for Art and Culture after the retiral of previous incumbent Willie Payne.

She said: “I think that we have to do two things extremely well and one of those things is that we have to be exactly right when working with artists and bringing them to Arbroath and provide them with the best type of facilities.”

According to Lucy the other aspect of her vision lies in making as much of the visitor experience as possible.

She said: “I’m interested in making the collections more available and that means renovating some of the out houses and setting up proper open stores, making a proper archive and storage centre.

“But at the same time we need to know we have the right relationship with our volunteers and the right type of collections that people will come and spend time here.

“There’s a lot of work to do to make it absolutely the right facilities.

Much of this work will fall to the ‘Friends of Hospitalfield’, a long-standing group of volunteers who support the work of the Hospitalfield Trust.

Lucy said: “In the past they’ve been amazing giving their time and expertise for free.

“We need to build our volunteers up to help us on some essential tasks. If people are experts in upholstering we’ve got quite a lot of jobs for them and quite a lot of friends do repairs. Of course we have to be sure somebody has the right skills.”

There are also vital but less glamorous roles with volunteers needed for data entry and also digging and other gardening work.

The first of this year’s ‘Friend of Hospitalfield’ events to honour their work will take place on Wednesday, April 17, and will feature a talk on textiles by a leading specialist on the topic.

The events are free to ‘Friends’, but non-members will have to pay a £5 entry fee, which includes canapes.

Hospitalfield could also have some help from an unexpected source. Lucy explained: “The V&A coming to Dundee is totally amazing and it’s only just down the road and the focus will be on arts and crafts.

“Visitors can then come up the road and see a house actually built in the architecture of arts and crafts, that’s an amazing thing for the east of Scotland to have.”

A new website was launched this week giving a greater insight into the history, collections and varied programme of Hospitalfield and can be found at www.hospitalfield.org.