ATLAS Arts was founded in the summer of 2010 following research commissioned by HI~Arts via the Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland). The research exercise had two aims: to explore the most appropriate way to deliver a visual arts program in Skye and Lochalsh, following the closure of An Tuireann Arts Centre; and to assist the Gaelic college Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in its plans to develop its involvement in the arts.
The research project concluded in September 2009 with a well-attended public meeting in Broadford. At the meeting, a proposal to create a team to develop and deliver ambitious and innovative visual arts projects in Skye and Lochalsh was endorsed. To avoid the need to create a new organisation from scratch, and therefore to allow the team to focus exclusively on programming and building local and international networks, it was decided that the project would be hosted by HI~Arts.
Following the meeting, a steering group of interested individuals based in Skye and Lochalsh was put together to refine the project proposal and recruit staff for the team.
Since ATLAS was founded, an important part of our work has been developing relationships with local business and cultural sectors, and within the community. This has helped us to develop sustainable models for the creation of site-specific projects that are genuinely collaborative and mindful of the economic, social and geographic particulars of the area.