LOAN the Goudie art collection to the community.

That is the suggestion made by a councillor during discussions on the current Maclaurin Gallery exhibition. 

At a meeting of Alloway and Doonfoot Community Council, South Ayrshire Councillor Bill Grant said that the lack of space meant the 54-painting exhibition could not be shown regularly. 

He suggested loans to the likes of Glasgow, Edinburgh, or even in England. 

However, Labour member Kirsty Darwent suggested the solution was closer to home - at the likes of Ayr Academy and the soon to be built Riverside Block. 

Alexander Goudie’s art collection,which features the tale of Tam O’Shanter, will be put back into storage once the exhibition at the Maclaurin Art Gallery closes.

It is the first time since 1999 the 54 paintings have been put on display as they were last shown at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Cllr Bill Grant said: “The 54 paintings are still on display at Rozelle. The reason they are not constantly on display is because they take up too much space.

“They will go back into storage at South Ayrshire Council but we will be willing to loan them to any council who wish to display them. 

“I think they are quite suited to the area right now and are a great asset to the community. We want to loan them to Glasgow, Edinburgh or even counties in England.”
Chairman of the council Peter Hall asked: “If this is the right place for them then why are they not always on display.”

Cllr Kirsty Darwent responded: “There are always other pieces of art which are on display at the galleries. You could not display a part time gallery full time, which is free to visit. Maclaurin needs a source of income.”

Cllr Grant continued: “We just don’t have the capacity to and we need variety. We do hang some of the paintings but just not the full 54 piece set.”

Cllr Darwent added: “We can loan them out to the community. Ayr Academy is going to have public space in their art room and the Riverside Block, when it is built is going to have a culture hub.”
Community Councillor Brendan Ferguson asked: “Is there any chance for the Goudie paintings to be displayed full time?”

Cllr Darwent replied: “Not a chance. It is a really hard financial times for us at the moment.”

Brendan added: “Ayr has so much heritage and we have been a town since the 1100s. We have got the Citadel Fort and we can relate back to the Romans.

“We could be like York. There are so many people that don’t know about our history. We need to make the town better but it is not going to happen over night.”

Cllr Grant continued: “We used to have ship building in our town and we should have something to remember that.

“We would love to have a heritage centre in our town but noone has ever asked me for a museum when I visit them. 

“The issues raised are litter, pot holes care for the elderly. That’s what people are talking about.”

It is hoped that UWS Ayr Campus might be able to accommodate some of the paintings.