Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (20 April 2012 – 7 May 2012) is delighted to announce its most successful year to date with the diverse programming of this year’s Festival generating measured increases in visitor figures, economic impact and community engagement within Glasgow for its 5th edition. The Festival is also delighted to announce Sarah McCrory, formerly of Frieze Projects as Artistic Director for 2014-2016. Results of a recent economic impact study have also solidified GI Festival’s place as one of the key biennial cultural events both in Glasgow and in the UK.

Bringing a wealth of experience, Sarah McCrory will join GI Festival as Director for 2014-2016. McCrory joins GI after spending two years as curator of Frieze Foundation, a non-profit organisation responsible for the curated programme of Frieze Art Fair including Frieze Projects and Film. In 2012 she was instrumental in the inception of Frieze Projects East which included the production of six new public art projects situated throughout the Olympic host boroughs of East London as part of the London 2012 Festival. This role also saw McCrory taking up a position on the judging panel for Frieze Art Fair’s Cartier Award in 2010 and Emdash Awards in 2011 and 2012. Prior to this she was co-curator of Studio Voltaire, London.

McCrory will build on the success of the 2012 Festival which showcased work by more than 130 artists across nearly 50 of Glasgow’s best permanent and temporary exhibition venues, continuing its tradition of bringing together exhibitions by the best international and local artists. Directed by Katrina Brown, the 18-day programme featured a series of newly-commissioned works that drew on a range of disciplines, including visual art, dance, film, music, performance and theatre.

GI Festival received achieved record attendances this year with overall attendance measured at 205,067, an increase in visitors of one third from the last Festival in 2010, and a staggering increase of 100% in unique visitors to the Festival (up from 16,237 in 2010 to 33,945). It was measured that 40% of visitors to the Festival were between 16-34, reflecting the programme for the 2012 Festival’s ability to engage younger audiences with its range of high quality contemporary visual art exhibitions and projects.  The number of overseas arts professionals and visitors attending the Festival from the UK outside of Glasgow showed an increase for 2012. The Festival also received higher attendance from overseas art professionals and showed a measured increase in attracting local visitors as 61% of people attending the Festival came from the Glasgow area. Visitors reported that this was due to the presence of the high profile, public art project on Glasgow Green (Sacrilege) which singlehandedly attracted an attendance of nearly 30,000.

GI Festival achieved its ambition to introduce the public to the range and quality of artists from Glasgow, increasing local pride for the city and introducing new audiences to contemporary art from within Scotland and abroad. Of visitors surveyed at the Festival, almost three quarters said they would like to come back to see the 2014 Festival. The economic impact of the Festival was measured to be worth £1,715,986 to the Glasgow economy and £436,878 to the Scottish economy in terms of net expenditure which represents an increase on the whole from 2010.

Highlights of the 2012 Festival included the unveiling of Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller’s major new artwork Sacrilege. Situated on Glasgow Green, Sacrilege was revealed as a full-scale, inflatable replica of Stonehenge, one of the UK’s most recognisable heritage sites and this project was Deller’s first major public project in Scotland commissioned by GI Festival 2012 in collaboration with the Mayor of London and with investment from Creative Scotland. With funding from Arts Council England, Sacrilege  has also been travelling to different locations in the UK as part of the London 2012 Festival and will be presented at Le Esplanade des Invalides in Paris, 16- 21 October, in partnership with Art : Concept.

The strong strand of collaborations for the 2012 Festival included a project by award-winning Scottish artist Graham Fagen, esteemed theatre director Graham Eatough and Scottish director of photography Michael McDonough, which invited audiences into the place between art installation, promenade theatre and film-making for The Making of Us, with the National Theatre Scotland (a Creative Scotland Vital Sparks Project) and a new film commissioned by Glasgow School of Art graduate Rosalind Nashashibi (co-commissioned with Scottish Ballet) presented in GI’s hub space. Like Sacrilege, The Making of Us will have a legacy after the Festival as footage produced during the course of the project is currently in production and will be ready for distribution and touring in 2013 to film festivals in Scotland and further afield. The Festival also included over 85 exciting one off events at participating organisations in the city.

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