Follow the signs of new art project in Markinch ...

Angela High (Markinch Community Council), Katherine Easson (Head Teacher), Caspar Wilson and Artist Nicola Atkinson
Angela High (Markinch Community Council), Katherine Easson (Head Teacher), Caspar Wilson and Artist Nicola Atkinson

Folk in Markinch may be forgiven for wondering what the meaning is of all of the strange signs and symbols that have appeared throughout the community in recent days.

But all can now be revealed as the town becomes the backdrop for a groundbreaking, innovative new seven-month public art project, designed to trigger new ways for people to appreciate their surroundings by engaging them with abstract art.

And, crucially, the project also aims to take people out of their cars in order to adopt alternative forms of getting around the town.

ABC Routes concept is the work of Glasgow-based contemporary arts group Nadfly which will install a total of 26 new routes on a rolling basis throughout Markinch between February and September.

Caspar Wilson, producer, said the project would be thought provoking as well as enjoyable.

“We are exploiting a tiny loophole of potential, due to an exception in the law which says you can have additional signage underneath the sign in 20mph zones without additional permission,” he explained.

“We want to subvert the practical idea of signage to lead people to something that is more experiential.”

The project, part of a collaboration with transport charity Sustrans, Fife Council and Markinch Community Council to support safer active travel for school pupils, also dovetails into a wide safety and improvements programme which includes the widening and renewing of paths in John Dixon park, and a public crossing over Balbirnie Road.

Angela High, chairman of Markinch Community Council, has championed the project from the outset and is sure it will prove a big hit with residents.

This fantastic development will see major investment in the built environment of Markinch,” she told the Gazette.

“The ABC Routes signage and events are a new and exciting way to inspire children to walk and cycle to school, and to encourage parents to be aware and drive safely.”

The geometrically patterned works of art ,which are colour-coded and hand drawn, have already been shown to local schoolchildren who have learned that because each represents a different letter, they can use them as an alphabet, or code.

“We’ve worked with an ambassador class of P5 pupils from the local school who have been very responsive to the whole public art concept and have really bought into the idea which was just what we were aiming for, “said Casper.

And the ambitious project has the backing of Fife’s Depute Provost, councillor Kay Morrison, who lives in Markinch.

“It’s a fresh and bold concept for the town which will work both visually and importantly from a safety aspect,” said Cllr Morrison.

“The region has a long and rich history of public art of which this is the next exciting chapter.

“I hope it proves to be the success it clearly deserves to be .”

The project will be officially launched at a special event at Markinch Town Hall on Thursday, February 18 at 11am.

There will be an exploratory walk along the first route, with refreshments served upon the return.

For more information visit www.nadfly/abc-routes