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Creative Scotland aims to boost arts and culture

image captionCulture Minister Fiona Hyslop said the new body would mean major change

Scotland's new arts body Creative Scotland has been officially launched after the merger of the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen.

It has been four years in the making and is aimed at developing quality and excellence in arts and culture.

The focus is about making the arts accessible, as well as offering grants and bursaries.

The body will also provide interest free loans to make it easier for people to buy contemporary art.

Almost 50 galleries across Scotland will be participating in the Own Art scheme.

The organisation's launch took place at Edinburgh Printmakers, one of the galleries participating in the scheme.

'Momentous change'

The group's headquarters will be in Edinburgh, with the former chief executive of Standard Life, Sir Sandy Crombie, appointed as chairman.

Creative Scotland's new chief executive Andrew Dixon, said: "Creative Scotland is here.

"This is Scotland's chance to develop its key strengths in the sector and bring together in a more unified way.

"We have a well-respected chair, a board and a strong senior team."

Creative Scotland Chairman, Sir Sandy Crombie said: "I am excited about getting Creative Scotland under way and am looking forward to working with Andrew Dixon and the board to build on the good work of the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen.

"Our early work will be on identifying the immediate priorities for Creative Scotland."

Mr Dixon admitted that no organisation was immune in the current economic climate but he said the new single, national body was well placed to support Scotland's arts sector.

Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop said that the formal establishment of the new body marked "a truly momentous change in the way we nurture and support Scotland's reputation as a cradle and cultivator of talent across all art forms".

She added: "The route to Creative Scotland has taken many twists and turns.

"This government has actively engaged with the artistic and creative community to ensure their views and needs were understood and taken on board.

"As a result the vision and shape of the new body are much improved.

"Today Creative Scotland officially starts its vitally important work to support artists and creative practitioners of all kinds, to encourage enjoyment, appreciation and participation in the arts and to promote the value and benefits of the arts and cultural sector."

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