NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Art gallery encourages breaking the rules

People were encourage to write on the walls of the gallery
Image caption People were encourage to write on the walls of the gallery

It is more often a place for quiet reflection and observation but this weekend Aberdeen's art gallery was a noisy, energetic playground, where drawing on the walls and even playing football was encouraged.

As part of a final fling before closing its doors for a two-year, multi-million pound redevelopment, the art gallery held two events - Extreme Makeover, for the over 18s and Breaking the Rules, for families.

There were DJs, a ceilidh and a picnic area.

Hundreds turned up, some queuing for hours.

Christine Rew, Aberdeen's art gallery and museums manager, says: "It has been overwhelming.

"We have been absolutely staggered at the number of people who have been queuing, very patiently, to get into the gallery.

"It is really positive. You can just see on people's faces, they are really enjoying themselves. They are enjoying interacting with the gallery in a different way."

By far the most popular feature was the chance to doodle on the wall and unleash the inner artist.

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Media captionHundreds of people in Aberdeen spent the weekend breaking the rules at the city's art gallery, as it held a final fling before closing its doors for a two year redevelopment.

One mum said she hoped her child would be inspired to have a painting on the art gallery wall one day.

But for most it was a chance to make their mark in the art world, if only for a short time.

Christine Rew says drawing and doodling is "a natural thing".

She says: "We all do it but generally in an art gallery you are not allowed to.

"This event is called Breaking the rules, so we are letting people break that rule."

Ms Rew adds: "Downstairs we have got a couple of walls that are not going to be changed with the development. They will be covered over and we are asking people to leave messages for the future.

"Who knows in 50 or 60 years time there might be more building work going on and we hope it will be like some kind of time capsule and people coming after us will find all these messages."

The redevelopment has not been without controversy.

Some have criticised the new design.

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Image caption The £30m art gallery plans were approved two years ago

Christine Rew says there is an appetite to do art differently.

She says: "There is a perception that art is always high-brow but actually it is for everyone.

"The gallery is for everyone and we really hope that message will come through and people will remember it over the next two years and come back in 2017.

"People want to come and do a whole range of activities at the gallery not just come and see paintings and sculpture and art work.

"In the redevelopment we've got three new spaces that we are creating for events and activities but we also be looking to see how we can continue to programme events like this in the future."

The refurbishment is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

Some of the galleries art will go on show at a new collection centre being currently built.

There are also plans to put pieces out to Drum Castle and other venues throughout the north east.

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