Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 12:25 UK

Creative Scotland 'coming soon'

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Artists expressed concern over the government's handling of the merger

The new organisation which will combine Scottish Screen with the Scottish Arts Council has held its first official function in Edinburgh.

The future of Creative Scotland seemed to be in limbo last year.

But Culture Minister Michael Russell was anxious to reassure festival directors and artists that work to get the body fully running was under way.

Transition director Richard Holloway said: "I can safely say Creative Scotland will come - and soon."

Public event

The new organisation was stalled shortly before last year's festival when the bill to establish it failed to go through parliament.

It was reintroduced in June as part of the wider Public Services Bill.

Although there were few details about the structure of Creative Scotland, Mr Holloway said it was a major milestone.

He said: "The appointment of Ewan Brown as chair of Creative Scotland and then Michael Russell as culture minister has restored confidence in the whole project."

Mr Russell said: "This is the first public event under the badge of Creative Scotland, which proves it's not just going to exist, it does exist."

From 2010, Creative Scotland will take on the responsibilities of the current Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen.

It will focus on Scotland's creative talent.

Earlier in the week, Mr Brown announced details of a new £1m fund which will offer direct support to artists.

The Vital Spark awards will offer money to artists based in Scotland, working with international colleagues.

Applications open in September and the selection panel will be announced in December.

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