The War + Peace exhibition proved to be a success with the public, it provoked various reactions. As artists we felt that it was important to continue with the quest to exhibit contemporary art in the area (and with ambition to go further afield as well). We were able to secure the same shop venue to hold another exhibition in April of the following year entitled WallArt (2006) By this time it was decided that we would form a constituted group which we did; we called it InArt Collective Contemporary artists. I became the Chairman of the group and took on the responsibilities for organizing most of the exhibitions. During the period between 2005 and 2012 we held 10 exhibitions in the area, seven in other areas outside West Lothian and several smaller exhibits/displays in various spaces we managed to secure mostly in the shopping centre in Livingston.
In the Livingston shopping centre when we were unable to access a shop location it was possible to use a space in the mall itself. In order to do this, it was necessary to create our own “walls” on which to display the artwork. This project went through many stages with, at one point, Gordon and I manufacturing wooden display boards. Since we were not exactly great at carpentry it was a challenge, however, the boards turned out okay and made their debut at the Beachcomber exhibition which we held in August 2007. With little funds and the need to buy equipment we decided to do some fund raising, as a result we accumulated enough money to buy foldable display boards, a film projector and screen and a gazebo. The gazebo served as a kind of “indoor space” where we could exhibit and show films. At its height inArt Collective had well over a dozen members from all over Scotland, unfortunately, it folded in 2009. A few of the artists and myself, however, continued to exhibit together as inArt Contemporary Artists but most of the exhibitions mentioned were when the main constituted group were still together.
The last exhibition we held in West Lothian was entitled War + Art. It took place in a mall space in the shopping centre in Livingston in November 2011 (again to coincide with Armistice Day). In this exhibition we showed film inside the gazebo with a slide show projection showing examples of contemporary artwork on the theme of war. We also exhibited artwork such as paintings and sculpture and there were some examples of war themed artwork by the children who participated in the Friday Art Club. This was not intended to be the last exhibition as I had plans underway to organize an exhibition in the following April to commemorate the fifty-year anniversary of Livingston New Town. This had to be cancelled due to a new law that meant a Public Entertainment License would be required to stage events such as ours even if it was free to the public. As we were financially stretched anyway this was the final blow, so we were forced to abandon the idea of exhibiting in public spaces unless it was a venue that was already covered by such a license. The law was very sketchy as it was up to local authorities to decide what their policy was. West Lothian seemed to embrace the law so that was that. I wrote an article about this at the time which can be read elsewhere on this website.
Later on, from 2017 until 2019 we had a space in the Waterstones bookshop store in Livingston. Prior to that we exhibited in Debenhams for four years and in Starbucks for three years (both in Livingston). I have also held exhibitions outside the West Lothian area and hope to continue when things are better regarding the pandemic. My exhibition planned for October 2020 at the Chaplaincy of Edinburgh University was, as expected, postponed so when possible, that will go ahead sometime in the future.