It's no secret that if you live in one of Scotland's cities, there's no shortage of arts events to enjoy any night of the week.

And it's not just the general public who are in the audience of the big theatres: arts critics are present too, fulfilling their role in bringing much-deserved attention to some of the most prominent and significant live performances held throughout the country.

But what about the smaller venues and those outside the big cities? What of the theatres, halls and centres that work tirelessly to provide their local communities with a cultural programme?

A recent Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy survey showed there were some 804 venues throughout Scotland capable of hosting arts events. Add on the areas the survey didn't cover - including Glasgow, Dundee and Inverclyde - and the total rises to about 1000.

These venues matter: their funding is constantly under debate and we believe that one way to validate their existence is to highlight the events they host by bringing them to the attention of the nation.

In a year that will see Scotland decide its own future by giving voting power to its people, HeraldScotland today launches a new initiative designed to give our readers the chance to cover the best arts events across the country themselves.

Inspired by the way you use our online commenting forum to hold daily debates on news, sports, opinion and our other articles , we believe the public's opinions on the arts should be given more prominence ¬- because you're an honest, unbiased and relevant part of the cultural landscape.

So from today, here's our new reader review system - You The Critic. We want you to tell us what you think of the arts events you attend in Peterhead, Thurso, Campbeltown and Stornoway (plus everywhere in between) in the form of 250-word reviews of comedy, dance, visual art, poetry and literature readings, or any other event that involves a live element (except film).

Use the template supplied here, email your views in, and we'll publish them online daily.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop supports the new venture, saying: "Culture is not just the reserve of critics or policy makers or the people that we see up on the screen or upon the stage. Culture enriches all of our lives and we should all be entitled and confident to express our views on culture and the arts.

"Indeed, part of the real pleasure in engaging with the arts is the discussion, the debates, the opposing viewpoints, that any piece of work throws up. This new venture is a new forum for such lively and vibrant debate to flourish.

"Scotland has a rich heritage of cultural comment and criticism both in print and now online, and this is a country where everybody cares about, shares and champions our culture and our heritage - this is why it is so important that we have forums like this one to allow us all to debate, to recommend, to declare our love (or otherwise!) for the great art that we produce and share with the world.

"A culture that sparks lively criticism, comment and debate is a culture that is healthy and that is speaking to its people; so I am glad that initiatives like this one are available to help catch and channel some of the passions that are being generated in what is sure to be a very exciting year for all of Scotland."

Author Alan Bissett adds: "We often forget that the intended recipients for any artwork are - who guessed it! - the audience, rather than professional critics.

"While the latter can often perform a valuable function, the opinion of the lay-person is often ignored as being ill-informed or irrelevant. HeraldScotland's You The Critic feature will allow a redress of this imbalance and I, for one, would be as interested in what the ordinary people of Glasgow have to say about new releases which the critics either loved or loathed. It's cultural democracy at work."

Now it's over to you: use the template we publish today to send us your opinions.

Read more about some of Scotland's most remote venues with our interactive map.