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Fusing earth, wind and fire

Betty Jerman heralds the 1996 Glasgow Festival of Visual Arts The opening of the new Gallery of Modern Art on March 30 in the impressive neo-classical Royal exchange building in Queen Street will be one of the highlights of the 1996 Glasgow Festival of Visual Arts.

The display space will be on four floors, each with different architectural features reflecting the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. Exhibits will include mechanical sculpture like Russia's Sharmanka Street Organ Theatre, combining sculpture, music, drama and lighting, and interactive opportunities through which visitors can create their own personal works of art.

The largest-ever exhibition of the life and work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), born and educated in Glasgow, is to be held at the McLellen Galleries, Sauchiehall Street from May 25-September 30, celebrating his achievements in design innovation incorporated in interiors, furniture, art and architecture. Some of the exhibits will not have been seen in public before.

His work can be seen throughout Glasgow and includes the Glasgow School of Art, which offers public tours, and the Scotland Street School Museum, where school groups can dress in Victorian or Edwardian school uniform and experience a lesson as it would have been in either period.

The Community Arts Programme in the year of the festival is on a smaller but most imaginative level. Artists will create effects involving video screens in the city centre; video projections will create the illusion that one floor of the Tower Hotel is filled with blue water and swimmers; a springtime journey down the Clyde will have workshops at landings on the way; bronze casting processes demonstrated in workshops by an Arts Association will be open for children and adults to try the various skills and techniques involved.

Programme available from the Greater Glasgow Tourist Board, 39 St Vincent Place, Glasgow Gl 2ER. Tel: 0141 204 4480

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