Randy Klinger creates a million-pound art centre in Scotland — complete with shul

By Candice Krieger, June 13, 2008

US-born artist Randy Klinger, who describes himself as a “bacon-cheeseburger Jew,” has developed a million-pound, carbon-neutral, visual-arts centre in rural Scotland. Mr Klinger, 51, moved to Moray in Scotland 16 years ago and has devoted the past ten years to developing and fundraising for the centre and its gallery.

Completed last month, it will feature a series of exhibitions borrowed work from UK national collections. Named the Moray Art Centre, it houses seven studios and two exhibition spaces –— one of which doubles up as a synagogue for the Shabbat-morning shacharit service.

“I hope the centre will act as an anti-depressant to the western world,” Mr Klinger tells People. “Through exhibitions of great works of art, to which many people would never otherwise have access, and through lectures, seminars and workshops in this centre, the people of Moray will be able to engage with art in its many forms.”

The building generates all its own electricity through on-site geothermal pumps and solar-energy panels. Mr Klinger says he wanted to create something for the redemption of beauty. “I grew up in New York, which was supposed to be the capital of culture and a place of beauty, but I experienced a lot of sarcasm and depression. I wanted to develop a place where people can explore the concept of beauty and what it means to them.”

He adds: “I haven’t really had time to reflect on it all yet. The way things have happened has been miraculous.” A majority of the million-pound funding came from individual donations.

The new gallery is currently exhibiting the works of Scottish artist John Byrne.

Last updated: 12:04pm, June 12 2008