Scott Creative Arts Foundation to establish a gallery and arts centre in Boroughbridge


Tapestry - Credit: Archant

Plans are being made for a new arts centre to encourage not just artistic talent but good health and wellbeing too. Jay Commins reports.

Michael Schott

Michael Schott - Credit: Archant

A unique art collection is the inspiration for ambitious plans aimed at supporting a new generation of artists. The Scott Creative Arts Foundation, based in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, is to establish a gallery and arts centre to foster emerging artistic talent, including those who come to art later in life. The arts centre alongside community based projects also aims to help connect people from all walks of life with the potential for improving their health through creativity and art.

The Foundation honours the work of Michael Scott, painter, writer, poet and philosopher and his artist wife Eileen. ‘Both Michael and Eileen were prolific creative minds, applying the determination and drive that secured both high flying careers within industry to their passion for creativity and philosophy,’ says Dr Sue Armstrong, one of the trustees of the Foundation established to provide an enduring legacy from the works and philanthropic donations of the Scotts.

‘Their careers within biology and business strategy overlapped, but so did their creative interests, and what they have left behind is a remarkable collection of books and poems, alongside over 1,000 of their paintings – enough to fill most art galleries many times over.’

Sue had been a long term friend to the Scotts – her husband had published a number of their books – and she suggested that Michael channel his energies into explaining his feelings and motivations for the paintings he had created over 50 years, bringing them together into themed collections, and this was a task he took to with enthusiasm.


Floribunda - Credit: Archant

‘I could see all these hundreds of artworks that Michael knew so well, but the knowledge about the inspiration behind them was all in his head. As Eileen began to lose her ability to communicate, the background for her works was also disappearing, so I asked him to write a narrative for each painting he was putting into the collections – and in total, he wrote about nearly 500 of his paintings,’ explains Sue. ‘Even when Michael’s health also began to fail, especially after he lost Eileen, he continued to paint and to write, determined that his viewpoint should be shared.

He died shortly after we’d established the Scott Creative Arts Foundation, but he had given us a very clear steer on his wishes for their legacy.’

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Trustees are now looking for a plot of land for the development and to house the Scotts’ vast collection of artwork, books, CDs and background materials. The trustees have appointed a curator to help catalogue and maintain the huge collection, and help judge the new SCAF Emerging Artist Awards. Although her job is made easier by the descriptions that Michael Scott wrote, Jane Young still has an enormous amount of work to do, not least of which is to put together touring collections of the artwork.

‘This is an amazing body of work, and we want it to be seen by as wide an audience as possible, so we’re currently pulling together three exhibition collections to sit alongside Imago and our new exhibition, Figuratively Speaking, which we can lend to anyone with wall space to fill,’ says Jane.


Mothering - Credit: Archant

‘We’re looking for partnerships with libraries, hospitals, care homes and other public buildings, as well as exploring opportunities for pop up exhibitions around North Yorkshire, using some traditional gallery spaces, and some more unusual venues. None of the artworks will be for sale, but we’ll be looking at limited edition prints and licensing opportunities which can help provide self-sustaining income over the coming years.’

Figuratively Speaking opens to the public at Ornhams Hall, Boroughbridge, on Saturday, August 11th from 10am to 3pm. For more information on the Scott Creative Arts Foundation, and for information on the 2019 SCAF Emerging Artist Awards, go to