Stirling’s empty shop windows have been transformed into vibrant and creative works of art thanks to an ambitious project launched by the city’s BID (Business Improvement District), an organisation that involves businesses working together and investing collectively in local improvements.
The Street Stories initiative features a range of animated artworks on eight shop windows across Stirling City centre, including the former BHS and Argos stores, in an aim to revitalise the city as it prepares to welcome back its shoppers as lockdown restrictions are eased.
The ground-breaking project, organised by the team at Go Forth Stirling Business Improvement District (BID), exhibits the work of a range of Scottish artists, including art students Lou Carberry and Jacqueline Scorgie (the latter of whom practises under the name Jacque). Both women have studied in Stirling for some time.
Each individual artwork has been brought to life via interactive Augmented Reality (AR) and forms part of a trail, telling the stories of Stirling’s people, heritage and history, through mediums such as mosaic, dance, digital, mural and fluid art.
Eight artists were selected for the project following an open invitation to submit art, celebrating Stirling which could be brought to life via interactive Augmented Reality (AR) – a multi-sensory animation triggered by a free downloadable smartphone app ‘Street Stories AR’.
One of the artists chosen was Forth Valley College art student Lou Carberry, who uses her personal experiences of issues such as mental health to create striking works of art in a range of mediums.
Her ‘Reaching Out’ series of drawings, which feature a hand reaching out for help, can be found in the windows of the former Trophy Centre in Upper Craigs.
The other Street Stories artists are leading figurative artist Jacqueline Marr; Stirling illustrator David Galletly; professional dance choreographer Malcolm Sutherland; mosaic artist Rachel Davies; mural painter Michael Corr and fluid artist Roisin Mackenzie.
The project forms an art trail through Stirling’s City Centre, taking in Port Street, Upper Craigs, the Thistles, Stirling Arcade and Murray Place with the aim of increasing footfall, enhancing the city’s appearance and highlighting which business premises are available for commercial opportunities.
Go Forth Stirling worked on the project with design agency Arch Creative and Scene Stirling, a collaborative partnership promoting arts and culture.
Joe Nixon, Creative Director at Arch Creative, said:
“We have been able to give a platform to some of Stirling’s incredible artists and showcase their work in a completely different form”.
More details about Street Stories can be found on their website.
Meet the artists
The 23-year-old Stirling University student is in her final year of a BA Honours degree in Art and Design.
Jacque, who lives in Cumbernauld, works with sculptures, installation, print and digital editing and her work explores many decorative patterns and creating abstract shapes and forms. Her creative goal is to capture visually intriguing patterns, sculptures and textures, while her key themes involve the environment and experimental patterns inspired by nature, life and the imagination.
Jacque has always loved art and creativity, and has studied it since school, before she went to Forth Valley College in 2017. It was here that she initially achieved a HND in Contemporary Art before gaining a BA in Art and Design and is now completing her BA Honours.
“I’m currently working on my dissertation and last term I was involved in a practical project with ceramics”, she told Brig. “I’m due to graduate in April and want to go on to do something creative, perhaps working in a gallery or an institution – I’m keen to do something practical as making things is a big part of me and I’m keeping my options open just now”.
Jacque was particularly attracted to the Street Stories project by the Augmented Reality element and saw it as a great opportunity to become more involved in the Stirling art scene.
Her submission for Street Stories is a colourful digital collage which is inspired by the environment and suggests a ‘birds eye view of the earth’ resembling the texture of stone and the colours of moss and lichen. This piece is taking pride of place in the windows of the former Laura Ashley store on Port Street.
“My artwork is very much environmentally based and about the effects of climate change and how it can affect us. It has a lot of layers and vibrant colours and I’m really excited and intrigued to see how the AR element will look with my work and how it will bring it to life. I think the project is a great idea which will help attract people into Stirling and rejuvenate the high street. I hope people will connect with the piece and think about the Earth and what’s happening with climate change just now” .
21-year-old Lou has been studying at Forth Valley College for the past three years and much of her work is focused on day-to-day issues such as mental health, politics and culture. Lou uses her personal experiences to create her work, which evokes a strong emotional response from her audiences and helps spread awareness of issues close to her heart.
This young artist grew up with a flair for art and creativity and found the subject a useful escape and a therapeutic outlet during her high school years, when she struggled with mental health issues. Lou studied Higher Art at Lornshill Academy in Alloa, before beginning her Forth Valley course where she developed many skills in drawing, casting, mould-making and creating installation art.
She is already involved in LGBT Youth Scotland, where she draws on her artistic skills to help children learn about the power of expression and the impact it can have when you express yourself. Lou’s artwork is very much inspired by her own mental health struggles and she aims to spread awareness and positivity through messages such as “it’s okay not to be okay” and “you are not alone”.
“I’m dyslexic and have dyspraxia – a development disorder which is on the spectrum for autism. I have also been dealing with depression and anxiety for most of my life and suffer from PTSD. Art has always helped me when I’ve found things difficult and I find it a release and a way to express my feelings. It has also helped me to heal”.
Lou created her ‘Reaching out’ series of drawings, which have been chosen for the Street Stories project, as an illustration of her battle with mental illness. The drawings, created with clack fine-tipped pens, feature a hand reaching out before, in the final image, being grasped and pulled upwards by another helping hand.
Lou was delighted to be selected for Street Stories where her artwork can be found on the windows of the former Trophy Centre in Upper Craigs.
Here is a sneak peak of the hard work each artist put into revitalising Stirling’s city centre:
Feature image credit: Hannah Coyle. Edited with Canva.