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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Friday, 19 February 2010

So farewell Glasgow's old Transport Museum... hello brave new Riverside

Panel from 'Shipbuilding on the Clyde' (early 1940s) by Sir Stanley Spencer, Imperial War Museum ©

Aspect Prize winner, Patricia Cain's Riverside Interior #1

An aerial view of how The Riverside Museum will look when it is completed in summer 2011

This blogging business throws up some interesting curved balls. A few months ago, a comment dropped in at the end of a posting I put here about Patricia Cain's studies of Glasgow's new transport museum in the making, The Riverside Museum, which has been designed by Zaha Hadid.

The comment came from Gavin McLellan, director of the Riverside Appeal (www.riversideappeal.org). Gavin is in charge of the bid to raise £5m, which will go towards the £74m cost of this incredible new landmark on the River Clyde and his comment was about how pleased the Riverside Appeal team were that she was charting the building of the Riverside.

At that point, Trish was one of four shortlisted artists for this year's Aspect Prize, Scotland's premier prize for painting, but earlier this year, on the opening night of the finalists' exhibition at The Fleming Collection in London, she was announced as this year's winner.

Trish is fascinated by buildings under construction. It is as though she sees them as a metaphor for understanding the complex strands which link the modern world. She has drawn and painted other buildings, but in homing in on The Riverside, she has captured the curious charisma which this building exudes - even in its half built state.

It seems a strange thing to say, but after a site visit Riverside this morning with Gavin McLellan and artist/Aspect Prize Chairman Charles Jamieson, I can confirm that Zaha Hadid's zig zag building, which is still under construction, is in possession of copious amounts of charisma.

The said zig-zaginess of the front of the zinc covered building is meant to represent a city scape and when Gavin pointed this out, it seemed obvious. If you drive along Glasgow's Clydeside Expressway, you may well have seen it emerging 'out the wrapper' over the last six months, and found yourself, like me, veering dangerously into the wrong lane.

The announcement yesterday that the Transport Museum at the Kelvin Hall was due to close its doors on April 18 after 22 years, added to the sense of occasion as Charlie and I toured the building this morning. (Can't post any of my pix as security is quite tight...)

Looking up to the construction workers in their cherry pickers, the building had a feeling of a post war cathedral under construction. What would Stanley Spencer have made of it all...we mused? Spencer was the great war artist who painted the Clyde and its residents during the second world war.

Fittingly, his work will be on display here when the Riverside opens.

These projects always have their detractors, particularly where large amounts of public money is being spent, but this is a visionary scheme which shows Glasgow City Council has had the courage of its conviction that the city needed a world-class building to house its collection of transport related art and artefacts.

Glasgow's legacy as a shipbuilding and engineering centre is the stuff of legend - and you don't need to be a trainspotter to appreciate that fact.

Show me the child who has not been charmed by the Museum of Transport, either at the Kelvin Hall or in its previous location in an old tram shed in Pollokshields (where it started life in the wake of the closure of Glasgow's tramway system in 1962) and I will tell you you're kidding me on.

This new purpose-built home will be worth its weight in gold as a tourist attraction, but I have a feeling it will also be taken to the hearts of Glaswegians.

The Kelvin Hall is great. And I'm old enough to remember being charmed by the trams at the old Transport Museum at what is now Tramway. But gird your loins for Riverside - the experience.

Charlie Jamieson and I have have been so charmed, we're putting together an exhibition which will raise money for the ongoing appeal. Watch this space for details of how a select few of Scotland's top artists respond to this charismatic addition to Glasgow's cityscape.

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