Glow Arts are the twentieth recipients of Hands Up for Trad’s Business Limelight Award. The “Limelight’s” are a monthly initiative (launched in October 2012) that recognises the outstanding contributions made by businesses and organisations who contribute, shape and influence the arts and cultural sector in Scotland today. Glow Arts are a support network for artists and organisations working in the culture sector as well as working in the education sector.
We asked Jennifer McGlone of Glow Arts the following questions.
What is your principal company activity?
Glow Arts aims to create a hub for creativity and community. We wish to support artists and organisations in their artistic work, ensuring the highest quality and access to the public and communities.
Our principle activities are:
Consultancy and Fundraising – we support a range of individuals and organisations to develop their projects, identify and secure potential funding. This support is delivered in a variety of ways, from advice and guidance sessions to developing & writing applications for individuals/ organisations. For example, we assisted Rura secure Creative Scotland Funding for their second album and Artsplay Highland write their application and successfully secure funding to develop their work in nursery schools in the Highlands.
We also work with organisations to develop their creative business plans, evaluate projects/ initiatives and engage with current and new audiences. For example, Glasgow Jazz Festival to develop a new business plan and funding application, Bridge Music to evaluate and look at their audience engagement strategy.
Events & Project Management – we provide staff and support to festivals and events such as Celtic Connections Festival, Glasgow Jazz Festival, Hands up for Trad, Creative Scotland. Glow Arts also works in partnership with organisations to develop new creative projects such as The Bothy Ballads with Fife Cultural Trust or the free Trad Arts programme at the People’s Palace, Glasgow. In addition, Jennifer is an experienced tour manager having worked with Kate Rusby and Feis Rois Ceilidh Trail.
Arts Education – Glow Arts has a strong background in community arts practice and youth music projects. Jennifer is an experienced community artist (specialising in trad music) who has worked as a tutor, development officer for voluntary arts groups and also seven years on the Youth Music Initiative team at Creative Scotland. Glow Arts is currently developing a strategy for this area of our work.
Glow Arts Presents – we promote regular concerts in Glasgow and Edinburgh such as KAN, Blue Rose Code, Ewan McLennan, Rachel Newton, Mairearad & Anna. We also work with St Andrew’s in the Square to secure high quality artists for their programme and all the marketing for their concerts.
Glow Arts Office space – we also now have a multi-purpose space at the Barras Art and Design Centre in the East End of Glasgow. It provides hot-desking, rehearsal and meeting space Monday to Friday for individuals and organisations. At the weekend the space becomes The Braw Wee Emporium, a pop-up record and gift shop stocking folk, jazz & acoustic music alongside a variety of products made by Scottish based designers/ crafters.
When and where did the company first start trading?
Glow Arts was set up in late 2005 in a box room on Easter Road by Jennifer McGlone initially as a booking agent for folk musicians such as Lau, Lori Watson & the Rule of Three, Findlay Napier & the Barroom Mountaineers, Rura. The agency was established through multiple conversations with musicians who couldn’t find representation due to the lack of booking agents in Scotland.
However, quickly it incorporated Jennifer’s other freelance work such as events management (working with Hands up for Trad, Celtic Connections Festival and gig promotion), project management and various teaching positions.
The company has taken a variety of forms over the years from full-time to part-time back to full-time, only working in the traditional music sector to now working across genres and art-forms.
What made you want to work in Scottish culture?
Glow Arts was inspired and encouraged by the vibrancy of Scottish culture sector, and a desire to be part of that sector. Jennifer’s introduction to the arts and traditional music was through Easterhouse Arts Project’s Traditional Music project which was established in the early 90’s with a great list of inspirational tutors such as Dougie Pincock, George Jackson and Gordeanna McCulloch. It was due to the encouragement, generosity and support from this community that led to a career in community arts.
For us Scottish culture is the basis for defining who we are and then the spring board for learning about other genres, art-forms etc. We are inspired on a daily basis by the talent and creativity of the sector – it is this that we want to support and make sure is reaching as wide an audience as possible.
Can you tell us of any particular company highlights?
In the nine years that we have been running there have been so many highlights as well as challenges, which make the highlights even more special.
The first Glow Arts project was Lau Masterclasses during Ceilidh Culture in 1996 to a small group of participants who all came away totally buzzing from the experience.
The first Glow Arts presents gig with KAN back in 2011 at Stereo, they blew the audience away.
Accompanying Findlay Napier & The Barroom Mountaineers to Shetland Folk Festival as their agent, getting to meet so many amazing folk and being completely immersed in fantastic music.
The Creative Scotland Traditional Arts Funds Evaluation that Glow Arts was commissioned to do reviewing the first two years of the funds. Working with Dr. Lori Watson we carried out interviews, case studies and analysis of the figures from the first two years which was so interesting to hear the impacts on individuals and organisations the funding had enabled. The timeframe to deliver the report in was challenging however as a company we learned so much from the process and am really happy with the contents of the report.
The first concert at An Tobar of the Angus Lyon’s ‘3G’ & Duncan Lyall’s ‘Infinite Reflections’ Tour which we secured funding from Creative Scotland to take these two amazing Celtic Connections commissions to new audiences.
Getting the keys to the Glow Arts Office last year, exactly one year after launching full-time again. The space has opened up new opportunities and ways of working that was not possible working from home. Including having The Boys of the Lough perform a Braw Wee Emporium instore just a couple of weekends ago.
What are your company’s plans for the future?
In the immediate future we are working on a variety of exciting projects:
We have just secured funding from Creative Scotland to host a stand at Jazzahead! in Bremen to promote Scottish Jazz – this involves a partnership with UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow Jazz Festival and SNJO.
We will be relaunching the Bothy Ballads Project in partnership with Fife Cultural Trust where three songwriters are writing new contemporary folk songs based on stories collected through The Bothy Project last year.
Glow Arts will be concentrating on developing our Consultancy and Project management work, looking at how we can support more individuals and organisations deliver their creative ideas.
We are continuing to promote regular gigs in Glasgow and extending this to Edinburgh, really excited about Blue Rose Code at Drygate Brewery and developing new relationships with more venues in the East End of Glasgow.
We are currently developing a plan for to create some new projects that will develop our Arts Education work and engage new audiences in our local area.
The big one for us is our 10th Birthday Celebrations which will be held on 19th September in the covered courtyard at BAaD – there will be music, food and drink.
How will you celebrate receiving Hands Up for Trad’s Business Limelight award?
Really delighted to have received this award! We have a few opportunities to celebrate this month at various events we are involved in including:
12th April Henry & Fleetwood – Free performance to at The Braw Wee Emporium
18th April – Gavin Marwick ‘Journeyman Spectacular’ at St Andrew’s in the Square
25th April – Blue Rose Code at Drygate Brewery, Glasgow.
As well as getting on with lots of planning for our birthday celebrations!
Contact Glow Arts
Unit 3, BAaD (Barras Art & Design Centre)
54 Calton Entry