Obituary - Arion Love

5th June 2009 at 01:00

Arion Love, who has died of cancer, aged 68, devoted her career to promoting art education in Glasgow and Strathclyde.

An inspirational teacher with boundless energy, clear vision, and a sense of justice, she was an enabler and a role model, her great skill being to inspire confidence in pupils and teachers alike.

She was born in Plockton but moved with her family after the war to Tollcross in Glasgow.

Educated at Eastbank Academy, Glasgow School of Art and Jordanhill College of Education, she found her forte as a teacher first in Clydebank High where she started Saturday morning art classes for children from all over Clydebank.

After marriage to Charles (Chuck) Mitchell and the birth of their daughter Katie, she was appointed to Douglas Academy in Milngavie, continuing her Saturday morning classes in Clydebank and starting weekend courses for pupils applying to art school.

In 1971, she became principal teacher of art in Greenfaulds High in Cumbernauld, leading a young and dynamic staff whose exam successes became legendary. Her methods became a model for art teachers throughout the region.

In 1979, she was appointed adviser for art education in Glasgow. She initiated the Visual Arts Workshop and, with Tony Jones, head of the Glasgow School of Art, set up Saturday morning classes with pupils from poorer areas attending free.

Between 1980 and 1990, she ran a residential summer art school at Castle Toward where children and teachers from Strathclyde schools worked with practising artists who introduced new art forms every year. For many, these experiences were the turning-point in their lives.

In 1987, she married Iain Cameron Love. On a visit to Pakistan that year, she met Sheherazad, a dynamic ceramicist and teacher, whom she invited to work with Glasgow teachers and pupils in 1990 when Glasgow became City of Culture. The venture culminated in the Lamp and Light exhibition at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

She became adviser for arts initiatives in Strathclyde Region, with responsibility for the Strathclyde Schools Orchestra and the Dance School as well as the visual arts. Sitting on committees was not her thing, but Marion was an astute negotiator with councillors and officials.

Marion was awarded the Lord Provost's gold medal for her services to art education, in particular for running courses for children with special needs, and made a Fellow of the Glasgow School of Art for her services to art education.

In her retirement, Marion turned her attention to gardening in Plockton, learning Gaelic and revitalising the Plockton and District Horticultural and Arts and Crafts Society.

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