So this is what a real watershed moment looks like.

We in the media are quick to say any item of news (especially our own) is unprecedented, devastating or a turning point, but this week’s letter signed by 100 of Scotland’s leading artists and sent to Creative Scotland, asking for a “fresh start”, is certainly one of them.

The  letter was signed by some of the best known, most respected, most talented and honoured artists in and from Scotland.

“This is a game changer, this is the big one,” a weary voice at Creative Scotland said on Monday night. And they were right.

The letter was the last thing they wanted. The letter was the last thing the Scottish Government - who decided this year should be the Year of Creative Scotland - wanted, too.

The tone of the government’s response to the letter shifted overnight. On Monday night it was “we back Creative Scotland”; yesterday the tone was more “please sort this debacle out before it gets any worse”.

And for the first time outside gossiping, internet chat and whispers, the job security of the body’s senior staff of the body seems to be in doubt.

Which brings me neatly to Sir Sandy Crombie. The chairman of Creative Scotland issued a lengthy and in some ways extraordinary letter on Tuesday night. It was sent to the playwright David Greig, from whose email account the 100-artist letter was sent to Creative Scotland.

Here in digest form are some of my thoughts on the Crombie letter and the way forward for Creative Scotland:

I understand Sir Sandy was furious that he did not receive the artist’s letter in his own inbox, and it had to be forwarded to him. On the list of indignities a man can face, being forwarded an email is fairly low, I would say.

Many more artists wanted to sign, but feared for their future funding if they put their names to it. More are adding their names now.

The letter went through various shapes and forms and it could have, but didn’t, call for resignations. If it had, maybe Sir Sandy’s mood would have been worse, especially if his name had been prominently mentioned, which it could have been.

The tone of his letter veers between robust, clear, and condescending. It has, as one artist said, a tone of “patrician emollience”. Pointing out to a professional and acclaimed writer that his letter is “eloquently expressed” is one thing, but then going on to say “in choosing to be concise, you have of course sacrificed the provision of detail at a level that my board colleagues and I can investigate” is another.

That sentence could be translated as this: “Thanks for the terribly nice letter, but it’s so vague we don’t know what you’re on about.”

The two ‘sub groups’ of the board which will look in the operations of CS and its lottery funding will be a big story by Christmas. If people want to see major change at the body, I suspect those sub groups will be the vehicle for them.

For example, if the sub group report is damning, then the board could feel more comfortable in acting decisively on its own conclusions, rather than ‘caving’ to outside pressure. Some people may be urged to move on. I suspect at least one or two will.

Maybe as soon as the now inconvenient Year of Creative Scotland is up, the culture secretary will feel she can do something a little more drastic than send letters.

In his letter, Sir Sandy says “every professional community – even the arts world – has its own jargon”. This is true. Artists know that. But the point they were trying to make, and made clearly, was that Creative Scotland is being seen to use business jargon to talk to and deal with artists. That’s the point.

There is still a lingering feeling in some circles that artists and arts companies don’t know how to manage money. Artists are, in the main, self-employed and count every single penny going in and out. And most arts companies are small and fiercely budget-conscious. So they take umbrage at being talked to as if they can’t look after money. Especially by people who have spent their lives on salaries.

Along those lines, using the word investment here - “they who provide the money have a right to ask what will result from that investment” - rubs a lot of people in the arts world the wrong way. Especially as it's not Creative Scotland’s money, it's public money. They administrate where it goes.

Saying that Creative Scotland is only two years old isn’t quite the case. It was planned and thought about, at the very least in theoretical form, since 2003. The Cultural Commission was launched way back in 2004 and it reported, proposing Creative Scotland, in 2005.

And, as Sir Sandy will know, start-up companies in the private sector, the language of which is now being used at Creative Scotland, rarely have such long and convoluted time periods to prepare, chew over their functions, debate their formats and secure their budgets. This is not quite a fresh-out-of-the-box arts quango. It has a history, and lots of money has been spent setting it up.

Andrew Dixon, chief executive, says he will stay on. But yesterday he looked shaken by the whole affair. The eminence of the names on the letter surprised, shocked and to an extent, hurt him.

For Venu Dhupa, creative director, these mass letters are becoming familiar. She has had to deal with them before. When she was director of arts at the British Council, a similar letter protesting against an art form shake-up was signed by luminaries such as Damien Hirst, Lucian Freud and David Hockney. She left the British Council shortly after, in 2008. To get one mass letter of protest is perhaps unfortunate, to get two...

What’s next? Well, there are always unexpected developments. But those artist meetings I wrote about last week, in Edinburgh on October 26th and in Glasgow on the 31st, loom large. Andrew Dixon was due to be in India for the Glasgow meeting, but he has re-arranged his plans and said he intends to attend both.

The much trumpeted Creative Scotland Awards, a ‘glitzy’ black tie event to be held on December 13 at the Kelvingrove Art Museum and Gallery in Glasgow, will be an interesting affair now. They can’t give every single award to the film, Brave.