Closing the Window

GLASGOW will never be the same again. Bulkhead, one of the country's most distinctive arts organisations, ceased trading on Friday, and with it will go the 24 Hr Window, the shopfront exhibition space on the High Street that refreshed the parts other galleries failed to reach. The window brought contemporary art works to passing buses, car drivers, shoppers, and those staggering home in the wee small hours, providing exposure 24/7 for emerging artists as well as those of national and international standing.

But this public face was only one aspect of Bulkhead, set up in 1997 by artist Nicola Atkinson-Griffith. Her first project, On the Buses, allowed Glaswegians - including schoolchildren, scientists, and artists - to communicate with the public through posters on the city's 1200 buses. The Bulkhead Prize supported new public art by raising sponsorship and technical assistance for projects including Lisa Gallagher's mending of a derelict Gorbals building with a giant needle and thread. The Add Hawk gallery space in Bulkhead's interior hosted projects like Claire Barclay's Welcome for Sea and Game.

The stumbling block, as is often the case, has been money. Bulkhead was always notable for its astute fund-raising, and had a healthy relationship with both the city council and commercial bodies like its long-term sponsor, Fairway Forklifts. Unfortunately, the organisation was unable to secure the additional support it required to continue, and Bulkhead decided to quit while it was ahead, closing the doors before either debt or depression set in.

Typically upbeat, Nicola Atkinson-Griffith is preparing a website which will provide an archive of Bulkhead projects and is continuing to offer informal support to those artists who would have been taking part in this year's Bulkhead Prize. The current 24 Hr Window, work by Pam Wells, will continue until October 14.

Billboard wishes everyone involved with Bulkhead well. Particular tribute is due to Nicola, a native of Los Angeles, who visited the city for a short project and stayed. Her independence, her curatorial eye, and her engagement with the business world made Bulkhead a refreshing environment for art. We expect we'll be hearing more from her soon.