Brushes with history

by Scottish Arts Club in Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

We did it
On 12th April 2022 we successfully raised £10,000 with 36 supporters in 30 days

To commission an artwork during the 2022 Edinburgh Festival that celebrates the arts and the 150 year history of the Scottish Arts Club

by Scottish Arts Club in Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

New stretch target

To set up a fund to help artists and performers make a living from their art: by commissioning work, by providing opportunities for them to showcase their work, and to ensure they are paid a fair price. 


Hans K Clausen is an award winning sculptor and he will be commissioned to produce a collaborative, site-specific artwork, which will be installed in the stairwell of the Club pr1644791001_looking_up.jpgemises during the 2022 Edinburgh Festival.

Artists, both professional and amateur, will be asked to donate used paintbrushes, preferably with a statement about their significance to the donor. 

Hans gave an illustrated talk at the Club on 9th March explaining how he had worked before, in social work and in health care settings, to engage people in his art.   His presentation was both inspiring and moving. 

To paraphrase a BMW slogan he showed on screen  

                     It is not what we make:  it is what we make you feel. 


The finished installation will have a strong visual impact but will also provide opportunities to tell stories about the history of the Club, and generate questions about who and what it is for now, after 150 years. 

There was a lively discussion about how the full story of the Club would be told: that it welcomes artists in all fields: writers, actors, musicians as well as painters and sculptors as well as anyone with an active interest in the arts.   

Hans explained that the brush was just a symbol of the beginning of any artistic process: before anything else exists.   He would however work with brushes that are used in other art forms if that is what people send him. 


The plan that emerged is to suspend a sculptural form in the stairwell of the Club made out of 1,800 brushes – one for each month of the Club’s 150 years.   

There will be a public appeal to collect brushes to increase the scope of the project and a gallery in Cambridge has already offered to help.   


The installation will be open throughout the Edinburgh Festival in August 2022, and although it will then be dismantled, the whole process will be filmed and turned into a short documentary. The film will be shown alongside the installation and will also be made available online. The statements collected will be presented in a brochure, and a scaled down representation of the project will be made to add to the Club’s permanent collection.  


The cost of materials is fairly minimal as the main element consists of used brushes, which will be donated. Some other materials will however be required such as wires and brackets. Hans has to be paid for his artistic input and he will need technical help to install the piece safely. The filming, recording and printing will also have a cost.  We have estimated a total cost of £5,000 of which half would be met by the Crowdmatch award as long as we meet the milestones. 


We are offering rewards for the larger donors, but we hope to encourage a large number of small donations too and everyone who donates will be listed in the brochure in alphabetical order – regardless of the size of the donation. There is a facility to donate anonymously if you prefer. 

This project depends on fundraising, and will only take place if this crowdfunder succeeds. 


The Scottish Arts Club is a not-for-profit organisation, and owns a beautiful building in Edinburgh’s West End, with a commercial kitchen, a dining room, a Clubroom with a grand piano, a reading room and a studio.    

The aim of the founders 150 years ago remains the same today: to provide a place where artists and like-minded people meet.   

Club membership is open to artists of all genres and anyone interested in the arts.  Look at our website at and apply to join. 

Brushes with history is part of the Creative Scotland Crowdmatch – and is 1 of 20 shortlisted creative projects in Scotland - that have the opportunity to win a share of £80,000 in match funding, up to £10,000 per project.



This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£50 or more

1 of 30 claimed

Meet the artist - exclusive private view

Invitation a special private view with the artist, with drinks and canapes.

£10 or more

Honourable mention

Mention in the Club's online weekly newsletter - the amount given will not be shown.

£500 or more

0 of 3 claimed

Be guests of honour with dinner for two

Be our guests of honour, with dinner for two at the annual St Andrew's Day Dinner at the Scottish Arts Club.

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