Memorial to philanthropic artists could be built on former Yorkshire farm and orchard

A charity launched to honour the memory of two philanthropic plant biologists has unveiled a plan to create a permanent home for its collection of 1,000 artworks, a venue for hosting exhibitions and workshops and a base for arts organisations from across Yorkshire to collaborate.

The Scott Creative Arts Foundation, which was established in 2016 following the deaths of Michael and Eileen Scott, has lodged a planning application with Hambleton District Council to create the centre and memorial gardens on a former farm and orchard off the A19 south of Thirsk, near Bagby.

The couple had successful careers in agricultural research before taking early retirement and spending 20 years pursuing their interests in the arts; painting, writing, music and philosophy.

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They were prolific artists during their later years and shared their passion for the arts and philosophy with friends and community.

The A19 in BagbyThe A19 in Bagby
The A19 in Bagby

Papers submitted state while the foundation is dedicated to preserving and presenting to the public the life work of the Scotts, as well as supporting emerging artists and exploring the relationship between human consciousness and creativity, the site has a legal covenant to restrict access to the public to 28 days throughout the year.

A foundation spokesman said having already developed a good relationship with Rural Arts of Thirsk, it became clear with the recent launch of Thirsk Hall Sculpture Park and local galleries such as the Zilla Bell Gallery that Thirsk was “fast becoming a hub for the arts in North Yorkshire”.

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He added: “We are fully aware of the restrictive covenant that was placed on the land and have legally agreed to a 28-day public access restriction for exhibitions.”

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The documents state the foundation aims to create “a purpose-built centre of excellence” to reflect the creative ambition of the Scotts and to allow supporters to use art as a vehicle to inspire creative thinking and artistic collaboration within the community.

The application, which has received support from neighbours and Bagby and Balk Parish Council, states: “With over 1,000 paintings in their care the foundation has a legacy to share with the public and emerging artists alike.”

The foundation also wants the centre to become a venue for educational events and for use as a base for collaboration with other arts organisations within Thirsk and the Yorkshire region.

The documents state: “The Scott Creative Arts Gallery and memorial gardens will provide a valuable resource for both the local community, a wider public benefit for the Arts Community in the region and for the NHS Arts Team at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

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“The gallery will be a modest facility with big social impact, because of the collaborations the charity has built up, and low environmental impact due to the site specific design and sustainable construction method using natural bio-based locally grown materials for the main structure.”