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Work with an artist to create River Don Gateways


River water patterns are to be incorporated into sculptural earthworks to create access gateways to the River Don Corridor.

SURF Aberdeen and Public Art Aberdeen have commissioned artist Jim Buchanan to work with the community on the River Don Gateways Project.

The aim of the commission is to work collaboratively, mixing artistic expression with landscape architecture to reflect local character in development of designs for 'access gateways' to the River Don Corridor.

Jim will be holding a series of workshops, starting on Saturday, 14 June, at which people with an interest in the Don can join him to make their own drawing or model for gateways along the river. The proposed concept is to take the river water patterns, including ripples, swirls, bubbles and waves and to translate them into sculptural earthworks. Information boards, bike parking, car access and footpaths are also to be considered.

The events are open to all ages and materials will be provided. Children should be accompanied by an adult.

The first event, Waterforms, will run at the Donmouth Local Nature Reserve, beside the bird hide, from 10am until 2pm on Saturday. Participants can work with Jim to make artwork inspired by observing the river

Landforms, takes place at Persley Walled Gardens on Sunday, 15 June from 10am until 2pm, when participants can work with Jim to create their own landform sculpture models, as part of designing a River Don Gateway. Using photographs and drawings of water patterns, Jim will work with visitors to make their model landform proposals. Meet at the car park.

On Saturday, 21 June, Jim will run Journey in Riverview Park, alongside Riverview Drive, Dycefrom 10am until 2pm, where he will again help participants to make their model landform proposals for access gateways to the River Don Corridor, using water pattern photographs and drawings. There will also be an opportunity to vote for your favourite proposals from an exhibition of sketches prepared the previous weekend.

While helping to improve access and amenity of the River Don Corridor, the new access gateways will also help to raise the profile and quality of the area as a destination for recreation, sport and education.

The River Don Gateways project is a legacy from the completed EU-funded Sustainable Urban Fringes (SURF) Project, which aimed to develop better planning and management of the River Don Corridor, and included a long-term planning framework for the area. Objectives of the framework included improving access and perceptions of the Corridor and including communities in the processes. The Gateways project aims to help deliver on these objectives.

Both projects were initiated by and led by Aberdeen City Council, with input from a variety of stakeholders.

Jim is an artist with 20 years experience in public art projects, bringing a commitment to engaging local people in celebrating and shaping improvements to special places. He is looking forward to exploring the River Don Corridor and would be delighted to hear from potential guides – particularly if it involves walking, running, bike riding, hearing local stories, kayaking, fishing, or photography.

You can get in touch with Jim by emailing