Issue 206
Winter 2018/19

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Apr 18, 2019

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When one gallery door closes…

AFTER EIGHTEEN successful years, the Fisher Studio & Gallery in Pittenween, Fife, is sadly closing its doors. Owners John and Jan Fisher both trained at art school in the 60s and before their gallery venture, had been successfully selling their work in galleries all over Britain.

John explains how the Fisher gallery came about. "From 1973 we had been living in different parts of Scotland and selling through art galleries. We decided to try running our own gallery, and in 2000 we found an ideal property in the beautiful fishing village of Pittenweem, where we could live, open a gallery on the ground floor selling our own paintings and invite established artists and new artists to exhibit.

"We started offering a framing service and the Fisher Gallery quickly took off. We benefited enormously from the annual Pittenweem Arts Festival, which now has around a hundred exhibitions, and attracts an extraordinary number of art lovers to Pittenweem".

I ask about the loss of such a successful gallery to the local community.

"Although our gallery is closing, our daughter Anna and partner Mark have come to live in Pittenweem. Mark has taken over the busy framing side of the business, and he and Anna have opened their own gallery, Weem Gallery and Framer. So, one gallery has gone but another has opened!" – Good news, given the number of small businesses and galleries closing in the current economic climate.

What do the owners think of the current independent gallery scene? John replies, "We don't always know how other galleries are doing. We get the impression that most were doing better before the 2008 banking crisis, and Brexit is undoubtedly having a dampening effect! However, we survived.

"We do feel though that if you are running a rural gallery you need work of your own to do when the gallery is quiet. In our case this was painting, framing, and latterly producing giclé e prints from Jan's paintings, which have proved very successful. We will continue to paint and produce prints etc., but sell them through other galleries or online.

"Being artists, we are always aware of the uncertainty of income for self employed artists and craftsmen, and the difficulties faced with marketing. Our commission has always been lower than that of most commercial galleries, and visitors regularly comment on 'great value.' The atmosphere in the gallery is low-key, relaxed and friendly and the many compliments are rewarding.

"Many galleries have come and gone since we have been in business both in the city and in rural areas. It can be hard work, but we have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have made many good friends as a result. There is a lot more 'competition' for the independent galleries nowadays, with more Open Studios and art festival events on offer where visitors can meet the artists."

And future plans? – "After 18 years we rather reluctantly decided to close the doors and catch up with friends and family, attend to neglected jobs in the house, and make the gallery space a living area which we can easily convert back to an occasional exhibition space.

"However, once the dust has settled, we will probably look for a smaller house with a bigger garden. We mean to continue painting, and will be able to explore those parts of Scotland which we find most inspiring."

While the Fisher Gallery may be closing, it's good to know that another, the Weem Gallery & Framer, is opening its doors just opposite.


The Weem Gallery & Framer. 16 High St., Pittenweem, Fife, KY10 2LA

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