The Nairn Arts Society was established in December 1975 from a small advertisement which appeared in the Nairnshire Telegraph. The advertisement was asking if anyone would be interested in the Arts to meet in the Highland Hotel on the 15th of December 1975.
In the January of 1978 The Society moved to The Old Links Primary School in Grant Street when it became available. With a very healthy membership and lots of enthusiasm the old school was turned into a studio, where every form of art was explored.
In 1983 The Society was on the move as the Education department needed the school for their own services. After a brief stay at Kirkside belonging to Old Parish Church, the club settled into St Columba’s Church hall.
Here we could only use the hall once a week on a Wednesday rather than a Monday evening that we were used to. Also we could not leave our equipment or painting as we had in the past as other groups and church used the hall.
We were on the move again! A room had become available in Viewfield when the bowling club moved into their own premises. The room had been offered to us in the past and turned down, thankfully this was not held against us.
Since moving into Viewfield we sought to obtain a 10 year lease at a nominal annual rent. Also that we were the sole users thus enabling us to use the room as we please giving access 7 days a week.
Tutor’s lead classes on Monday’s and Thursday’s, plus open sessions on Wednesday afternoons and Friday evenings.
A Saturday Children’s workshop was set up shortly after moving into Viewfield.
This proved to be very successful with an average of 15 children attending each week.
As the workshops were run by volunteers it was only run in school term time.
Adult classes were run on similar lines, having holiday breaks to enable the tutors and volunteers a chance to have a rest and recharge their batteries.
We have also been involved with activities in the town such as the celebration of railway centennial, Harbour Fest, Street Fairs and Gala Weeks to name but a few.
In 2000 the Society moved to our present home Laing Hall. Negotiations were made with the church to permit us to move in as it was originally only to be used as a museum.
Permission granted, we moved in April 2000 for a peppercorn rent with the stipulation of not using on a Sunday.
The Society carried on with various classes and exhibitions. Rosemary tutored on Monday evenings until her retirement in 2019.
The Covid Pandemic hit in March 2020 and the Laing Hall had to close its doors as per the national lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The committee held their committee meetings online by Zoom to discuss relevant issues and Lynda Slater, Nairn Arts Society Secretary put together monthly newsletters to members with ideas to paint or display of art which members had completed at home to keep things ticking over until we were allowed back into the hall.
We managed to re-open again in August 2020 with social distancing numbers.
We carried out some outdoor drawing and painting over the summer of that year to allow members an opportunity to meet up and catch up.
In January 2021 the committee were working on a new lease from Highland Council.
May 2021 the Laing Hall opened its doors again after the second lockdown with “Good to Go” regulations in place.
Once the new 9 year lease from Highland Council was negotiated. The committee started working on ways improve the hall environment for future sessions.
Over the years the Society has held a number of exhibitions annually many receiving good reviews. This has encouraged some members to hold their own exhibitions which has made them quite well known locally.
We have been working on re-establishing Arts and Craft sessions, new workshops and new members. We are looking forward to an exciting and creative 2023.