Hidden gems at the Bank Street Gallery

The Bank Street Gallery in Kirriemuir plays a dual role in promoting the arts and artists in Angus, putting ‘The Little Red Town’ on the map.

Owner Susie Clark has to be congratulated for creating just the best atmosphere for visiting artists exhibiting their work, as well as musicians who relish the thought of getting ‘up close and personal’ with their audience.

The exhibition space lends itself perfectly to best exhibit art work.

But the area truly comes to life during acoustic sessions with musicians - the most recent being a memorable evening with local singers/songwriters Kevin Murray and Sandy Wright.

Each has his own distinctive sound and style, but put them together and what you get is a heady blend of folk music interspersed with their own style of humour.

The intimate setting of the Bank Street Gallery has often been referred to, but this really has to be seen, and heard, to be believed.

Susie sets the atmosphere just right, and at the risk of spoiling it for everyone, I would urge you to check out the next gig which takes place in February (more details in the new year).

The gallery can only sit 24 and with dimmed lights, candlelight and the chance to ‘bring your own bottle’, this is a unique opportunity to hear the very best Scottish music from the very best local talent.

Bank Street Gallery was established in 2005. Susie created the gallery as the result of a vision for a centre of excellence based in the East of Scotland, following her experience in exhibiting prisoners’ art in her law offices. Over the past eight years the gallery has exhibited many artists - local, national and international - almost all as one man shows.

The scope of the gallery has developed and now hosts genuinely acoustic gigs, poetry recitals, book launches and play readings in its tiny, intimate setting.

The latest exhibition currently running at the gallery features the work of Coupar Angus artist Ann Smith.

Albert Einstein described time as an illusion. The labours of Ann Smith are perhaps the perfect example of that challenging concept. She grew up on farm land around Coupar Angus and drank in the changing colours as she helped with whatever the season demanded. From an early age, if she was not outdoors, her quiet time was spent drawing and painting. Like now, she was always busy.

A graduate of Heriot-Watt, Galashiels (BSc in Clothing Studies, with Distinction), the influence of the natural world has remained visible in Smith’s career.

Having clocked hours in bespoke bridalwear and clothing design, she has for the last 13 years worked in garment technology and is based in Dumfriesshire. But the maternal ties of Mother Nature still tug.

After the birth of her daughter, Ann found herself returning to her childhood pastime, enjoying the quietude of drawing and painting and now experimenting anew with oils.

More recently her land and seascapes are explored in merino felt. Life and work have come full circle, Smith’s academic interest in textiles joining her artistic, al fresco passions.

Ann Smith is enthusiastic in her world – some may say obsessive. She strives to excel at whatever she tackles which must inevitably create tension. Ann uses hers productively - in her art.

Her exhibition runs at the Bank Street Gallery until Sunday, December 29.

The gallery can be contacted on 01575 570070 and is open Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.