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10 Reasons Why The DCA Deserve To Win Art Fund Museum Of The Year

The DCA is one of the most important cultural institutions we have in Dundee. With this one-of-a-kind venue now being nominated for Art Fund Museum of the Year, the only venue to be featured from Scotland, today, Dundee Culture looks at the top ten reasons why it deserves to take home the crown.


1. It has helped revive Dundee’s fortunes


The DCA was one of the first venues to open in Dundee that marked the beginning of Dundee’s cultural revival as the new millennium arrived in the city.


Before the DCA opened, Dundee was not in the best place, and it helped steer Dundee into a new direction which has inevitably caught the attention of the international community in the decades that have followed since the DCA opened back 25 years ago.


The DCA’s influence was one of the many factors which helped the city become the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design in 2014.


2. Dundee is the only major city in Scotland not to have the title – it’s time that changes


Dundee is the only major Scottish city not to have been awarded the Art Fund Museum of the Year prize. Edinburgh’s Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art won the top prize in 2004, the Burrell Collection in Glasgow has won it twice in 1985, and once again last year, and Aberdeen Art Gallery won it in 2020.


With 2024 marking Dundee’s tenth anniversary of being a UNESCO City of Design, and the DCA celebrating 25 years, it is about time that Dundee gets the recognition it so deserves.


3. A springboard for new talent


The DCA has provided a platform for upcoming artists who have used their gallery to help promote their work.


One example of this was Joanna Basford, a Duncan of Jordanstone alumni, who hosted one of her first exhibitions in 2012 at the DCA, and she has since become one of the most influential artists in the country.


The DCA bolsters new talent which is important for the next generation of artists in Dundee and Scotland.


4.  The staff are the beating heart of this special place


The staff at the DCA are the beating heart of the venue. They work round the clock to ensure that visitors are satisfied and happy during their visit. The amount of care they have for visitors is nothing but special. They deserve to be recognised for the jobs that they do.


5. A beacon for excellent learning opportunities


Education and learning is one of the core values of the DCA and the learning team at the venue do an absolutely wonderful job in helping youngsters get involved with art and design which makes what the DCA do that even more special.


The DCA is home of Create Space, this space allows young people to let their imagination run wild and get creative.


The Family Activity Calendar hosts fun family workshops, screenings and events ranging from the likes of th Discovery Family Film Club, the Family Art Lab, and the Soundplay Drop-in.


6.  Brilliant representation for smaller galleries


The DCA is one of the smaller venues featured in this year’s Art Fund Museum of the Year list.


Being named a finalist shows that the DCA is representing smaller galleries, giving other galleries the hope that they one day too could be named a finalist in the Art Fund Museum of the Year.


7. It hosts two amazing film festivals


One of the coolest features of the DCA is the fact that it hosts two amazing film festivals: the Discovery Film Festival and the DUNDEAD Film Festival.


The Discovery Film Festival is Scotland’s international film festival for young audiences, screening films from across the globe which are tailored made for young audiences.


DUNDEAD Film Festival is hosted in May and offers visitors to the DCA the chance to watch a wide variety of horror films, whether they’re your original classics, or new horror films which are screened for the first time in Scotland.


8. The print studio gives artists the chance to shine


The DCA’s Print Studio is a renowned centre for innovative print production.


It hosts taster sessions, a year-round programme of events and also engages with the community.


Hosting workshops and courses, the print studio has helped make the DCA become one of the best places in Scotland for print production.


9. After 25 years, it deserves the recognition


The DCA has been operating in the city since March 1999. It has just celebrated 25 years of being an important institution in Dundee.


It feels at times, it doesn’t get the recognition it so rightly deserves and the influence it has on Dundee is just special.


10. It needs more funding to safeguard it’s future


Although the DCA has so much love in the community, it has sadly in recent months, had concerns over its future operations, with the fear of closure in the years ahead.


No venue which has a dedicated role to play in the community, especially one like the DCA, shouldn’t even have to plan for closure. Support for the DCA is needed now more than ever – and the nomination of Art Fund Museum of the Year proves that there is so much value to this arts venue.


It needs the funding to help it operate for the near future. We need to ensure that we safeguard the venue for the next 25 years – and beyond.


The DCA winning the top prize at this year's Art Fund Museum of the Year would help open the doors for more funding opportunities for the DCA to help safeguard its future.


Independent contemporary art venues are underfunded, and they need investment to secure their futures.


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