MADE in East Lothian has just unveiled the first of three murals, the final part of a community art project started last year and funded by the local Area Partnership.

The colourful mural was completed last week on the front of MADE’s Arts Hub on Haddington’s busy Hardgate, and is visible to hundreds of passers-by each day.

The first mural has been designed and painted by Musselburgh-based artist, Laura Young.

Laura’s mural features John Knox, born in Haddington in around 1514. Notoriously a joyless zealot of the Reformation, Laura has painted him in flowery robes and daisy chain crown, encircled with one of his quotes, “I am a worm of this earth”. He’s surrounded by botanical illustrations, including the auricula and carnation, representing the Ancient Fraternity of Gardeners of East Lothian who held competitions locally for cultivating the best specimens. The green area is an outline East Lothian, and the pin on Knox’s chest is where Haddington would be on the map.

Laura said today, “It’s a gentle poke at the patriarchy, but also a happy nod to today’s Haddington in Bloom – quite the opposite of joyless – who colour the town with beautiful plants and really know the value of a good earthworm!”

This first mural will be followed by two more in coming months. Local artists Sasha Saben Callaghan and Charles Fletcher have been commissioned to create murals which are also inspired by historic local events.

Since reopening in June, the MADE team has grown with the appointment of three new arts professionals, a Community Arts Co-ordinator, Ecommerce Co-ordinator, and Funding/Development Officer.

The Adapt & Thrive grant awarded earlier this year funded two of the new roles along with a programme of tutored workshops for local people who may have struggled during the Covid pandemic. The grant has also enabled the development of an ecommerce platform for the organisation to be launched later this week.

Looking forward, MADE is now investigating the feasibility of a community purchase of their current Hardgate premises. The development of the Haddington Hub would provide a permanent base for the Arts Hub along with other local organisations looking for work and activity space.

Fiona Lambert, director of MADE said today, “This is a busy and exciting time for MADE in East Lothian. Bringing new staff into team will create new initiatives and bring us to a wider audience. We couldn’t have got here without the support of our wonderful volunteers who continue to give the organisation its heart and soul. Thank you to them all. By pursuing a feasibility study to develop our Hub site, we’re committed to creating a legacy for culture and community arts in East Lothian.”