On the 28th March 2019, we celebrated the opening of the First Phase of the Inverness Creative Academy project.

A specially commissioned triptych portrait was presented to Helen Carmichael, the Provost of Inverness when she officially opened Phase 1, which houses 32 studio spaces for artists and makers, a darkroom and a large exhibition and events space in the restored gym hall.

The painting shows Councillor Helen Carmichael from three slightly different angles and is the work of David Fallow, one of the first artists to take up studio space.

David’s portrait echoes another triptych (artist unknown), which shows civil engineer and one-time Inverness Royal Academy student Joseph Mitchell, and hangs behind the Provost’s desk.

It will join a group of paintings of significant figures from the area’s past, such as Sir Henry Raeburn’s portrait of John Mackintosh, who was Provost at the end of the 18th century and start of the 19th.

City Leader Councillor Helen Carmichael originally became Provost in 2015 and was the first woman to hold the post in its 600-year history. She was re-elected in 2017.

She said: “I was delighted to be invited to open the first phase of Inverness Creative Academy. It is wonderful to see the energy that the artists have brought to a building that has always played an important role in the life of the region.

“I now look forward to delivery of Phase 2 which will complete this wonderful complex for the benefit of creative people across the Highlands, allowing them to stay in the region and practise their art.

“I am also honoured to have had my portrait painted by David Fallow. It will take pride of place in my office in Inverness Town House.”

We were also very pleased to welcome all of our friends, supporters, neighbours and partners into the building and show them how the 1913 Arts and Science Extension had been transformed.

Audrey Carlin, Wasps Chief Executive Officer, said: “The official opening is a proud moment for us and a chance to thank all of the team, partners and supporters who have helped our plan for the first major creative hub in the Highland to become a reality.

“We want this project to play a truly significant role in developing the arts and cultural economy of the Highlands – offering opportunities to creative people of all kinds.

“It seems fitting that we marked the opening by presenting the Provost with a portrait that will become part of the city’s art collection and that has been painted by one of the first artists to take up one of the new studios. “Next comes Phase 2 and we look forward to a close and continued partnership with the council and all the others who have helped us reach this stage.”

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