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Should Annan be the sculpture town?

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By Donald Turvill
Annan and Eskdale
Should Annan be the sculpture town?

AN ANNAN sculptor has shared his vision for the former royal burgh to join the region’s list of themed towns.

Paul Cowan, following on from the likes of Wigtown and Castle Douglas, known respectively as the Book Town and the Food Town, is now looking to carve a new identity for Annan.

He has opposed alternative proposals by some locals to make Annan the History Town, saying: “Every town has history, and Annan’s has largely gone. The title is also not in keeping with the other named towns in the region, as they are all arts based. So let’s call Annan the Sculpture Town.”

His project has already begun to take shape, having dotted more than 70 sculptures around the area, best known for his – now headless – Haaf Netter statue on the Tesco roundabout.

Paul envisions that Sculpture Town status would encourage fellow sculptors from all around Scotland and the world to bring their work to the area and add to his existing sculpture trail on Newbie Path.

He said: “It’s my work just now but what I want to do is open a national sculpture park as well and have other sculptors’ work here.

“You could have something like Drysdale Sculpture Park where people go and create stuff in the woods and leave them there, but I also want to have a physical sculpture park where people can come and visit a gallery space like the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which gets something like half a million visitors a year.

“It would bring other sculptors in which is what the area needs. I’ve also been talking to the Harbour Trust because I had this idea to open a school to teach wood and stone carving and they said there could be a building in the new development that’s hopefully going to be happening down at the harbour.”

He added that his craft is “perfect during the pandemic because most of it’s outside,” adding: “You can go and see work and you’re not restricted by going into a gallery, and they can’t get anybody in at the moment.

“Sculpture is an outside art form and it would be far easier for people to gather outside to look at work and see art, because it’s important to see art when we’re going through this pandemic. Art provides joy in your life.”

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