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City celebrates a famous son

Glasgow is paying tribute to the achievements of the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh all summer long, reports Deedee Cuddihy

The Glasgow Mackintosh Festival 2006, launched this month, celebrates the life and work of the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and offers a host of educational opportunities, alongside 100 exhibitions, until the end of September.

The city is encouraging visits to its famous son's most celebrated buildings. Free tours of the Glasgow School of Art will take place six times a day until the end of September.

Other recommended visits include the Scotland Street School Museum - his last major commission in Glasgow and marking its centenary - Martyr's School, the Daily Record building and the Willow Tea Rooms. Then there is the Mackintosh House reconstructed in the Hunterian Art Gallery at Glasgow University, and the House of an Art Lover, which was completed 10 years ago from his 1901 drawings for a German design magazine competition.

A three-hour walking tour taking in Mackintosh hot spots will take place on Saturdays and Sundays in September.

The highlight of the festival will be the opening, on July 11, of the permanent Mackintosh and Glasgow Style exhibition at the newly refurbished Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

In September, a series of weekday lunchtime talks at Kelvingrove will focus on the Glasgow Girls and the tea rooms restoration work in 1980.

Scotland Street School Museum is running Wee Architects workshops for nursery and P1 children now until the end of December. The emphasis is on looking at pictures of buildings being made, seeing the tools used and even mixing some cement. For older pupils, there are guided sketching tours of the school.

From July l until August 21, it will run a Designer Mack project for 5- to 12-year-olds. Puppets, screen prints and other items made in workshops will be used for performances and exhibitions.

From August 19 until September 23, the Collins Gallery at Strathclyde University is staging a show of Mackintosh-inspired art and design by the Lapland collective, a group known for its quirky ideas. Over the past decade, Lapland has produced a series of imaginative events in Glasgow, embracing subjects such as the aesthetics of James McNeil Whistler.

In September, Project Ability, a charity which helps children and adults with learning disabilities to access visual arts, will display stained glass, ceramics and paintings by artists inspired by Mackintosh at the Centre for Developmental Art in Albion Street.

The Hunterian Art Gallery is offering a series of decorative art and design sessions for schools on September 11-15 in conjunction with its festival exhibition Doves and Dreams. There will also be art and design workshops for teachers.

The Lighthouse architecture and design centre will be running workshops for primary school teachers from September onwards, when participants can explore how Mackintosh's work can be used to stimulate learning and develop lesson plans.

Even Fraser's department store in Buchanan Street will play a part in the festival, with a distinctly Mackintosh look to its September window displays.

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