by Caroline Copeland

Creative people spend their lives imagining things into reality, whether it be a painting, sculpture, poem, garden, building, or abstract idea. On and on the list goes, infinite possibilities limited only by imagination, aptitude, and enthusiasm. Often it’s the latter which carries a project to fruition. The ability not only to enthuse yourself, but to bring others with you: realising your vision and capturing the imagination of those who engage with your work.

Dunfermline artist Ian Moir has a track record of enthusing others, and making his dreams and imaginings a reality. Nearly ten years ago, he had the idea of opening a gallery and artist’s workspace in Dunfermline. In the period between the initial idea and its opening in 2015, in the iconic 1930s building on Carnegie Drive that we now know as Fire Station Creative, there were many people who couldn’t see the need for that space. But Ian was clear of it’s value and the opportunities it could create: Not just an art gallery, but a place where artists could network and build careers, a place that created jobs, and perhaps most importantly, a place where young people would see what was possible, and have the confidence to pursue their own careers in the creative industries. Little over a year after it first opened, the artist’s studios are filled to capacity, the gallery and café attracts over 200 visitors each day, and Fire Station Creative runs as a highly profitable independent business.

Shortly after the opening of Fire Station Creative, Ian turned his attention to an idea that had been forming in his mind for several years – The Citizen Spire Project, an ambitious plan to construct a 300 ft stone spire structure overlooking the Forth Bridges, celebrating and exploring our ideas of citizenship through the medium of art. Ian says, “Recent politics have shown that Scottish people see themselves as major stakeholders in their own nation, I’m keen to see that idea explored further. When individuals engage with politics, it can lead to change and social reform that has meaning for them.” He continues “It’s a privilege to live in this country, I feel a responsibility to find ways to improve it and engage with others in the community to do that.”

The Spire project is in its initial stages: an exhibition of paintings, architectural drawings and models begins on Friday 3rd March at Fire Station Creative and will run for a month before going on display across Scotland. Taking inspiration from the Scottish tradition of building large inspirational structures to celebrate national heritage and culture, the exhibition displays some of the ambitious ideas for The Spire: a contemporary art space, cinema, workshops, café, shop, and viewing gallery, each space offering individuals and groups the opportunity to exhibit and interact with art, exploring citizenship and what it means to them. 

Ian believes The Spire has tremendous potential for regenerating the West Fife economy, creating new jobs and increasing tourism. He is keen for the public to engage with it and wants to hear the ideas of individuals interested in the project. In much the same way as those who utilise Fire Station Creative have moulded Ian’s original idea to suit their needs and aspirations, Ian hopes that people will be enthused by his initial ideas and imagine how they will engage with The Spire.

The Citizen Spire exhibition is open now at Fire Station Creative, Carnegie Drive, Dunfermline.