Why in Forres?
- Unicorns are Scotland’s national animal.
- Forres is 25 miles East of Inverness, the heart of the Scottish Highlands. A statue of a unicorn is in Central Inverness.
- Forres is a magical town:
- Sueno’s Stone
- Cluny Hill
- Witches stone
- Helge’s Hole
- Randolph’s Leap
- Spiritual communities of Findhorn and Newbold House
- A Mecca for New Agers
- As a result the New Age community there are many unicorns in Forres - artworks, sculptures, mosaics and paintings. There are also a lot of artworks that have been created that are traditionally Scottish and that relate to Scottish history.
- Forres High Street is a little run down. There are several empty shops. The shops that are there often don’t open up for their potential hours as it’s not worth it.
There are the basics of chemists, pet shops, bakers and butchers but there is only one gift shop. For anything more people tend to go to Inverness. The money does not stay in Forres. Forres 2020 Vision by Moray Council states “what needs to encourage people to use the High Street...encourage welcoming and unique experiences for social activities and tourists.”
It goes on to say “tourism remains a vitally important component of the Forres economy and helps to support a large proportion of jobs in the retail and hospitality sectors."
- There are a lot of new age tourists and children in Forres both of whom love unicorns. Many of the new age tourists attend Cluny College which is in Forres. There is a Rudolf Steiner School as well as several other schools in the town.
- Unicorns are so popular at the moment that Selfridges, one of London's largest and most prestigious department stores (whose parent company incidentally also owns Primark) have opened three unicorn shops in London, Manchester and Birmingham selling nothing but unicorn merchandise. (Incidentally the ethics of Selfridges parent company are questionable and include tax avoidance and operating in oppressive regimes http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/companystories.aspx?CompanyId=18341&CategoryId=288176)
- By establishing a National Unicorn Museum on Forres High Street with a gift shop and online shop it will provide a valuable retail space with a wide reach. It will also provide a retail outlet for local artists and crafters of whom there are many in and around Forres. Glasgow School of Art now has a campus in Forres which is bringing even more creativity to the area.
Running an online store for a National Unicorn Museum would compete with the unicorn shops being set up by Selfridges. Rather than sell products made overseas we would be able to sell locally made products with the money going straight into Forres.
GSA is also bringing international students who offer opportunities for having products designed in the UK mass produced overseas but ethically and sustainably. Having unicorns as a focus will offer a wider variety of crafters the opportunity to sell their work and gain exposure because everyone can make one unicorn themed product - from potters to painters to wood carvers to jewelers. This way everyone can be involved in a small way. If the shop were a gallery selling only paintings and drawings it would not provide that opportunity. This will also create a lot of interest on social media.
- 154 Forres High Street is large and has an atmosphere conducive to a museum. It dates from the 17th Century and is higgledy piggledy with flagstone floors in part of the building, a tin roof on another part of the building. It is the oldest shop on the High Street. The lane beside the shop is also owned by the building. This could be used as part of the exhibition with information boards and graphics and a grotto/flower garden with unicorn figurines. The shop is located near the top of the High Street where the castle used to stand, close to the Mossat Burn and the Mossat Tavern and the Post Office. The Mossat Tavern is ranked #1 of 26 Restaurants in Forres on Trip Advisor.
- Unicorns and rainbows are a well known symbol for the LGBT community and as such provides a theme of inclusivity for any events based around unicorns. There is currently very little to cater to the LGBT community in Moray or the Scottish Highlands for that matter.
- Unicorns represent connection with nature. Forres is a Transition Town and has many organisations that aim to connect people with nature and protect the environment.
- Unicorns represent creativity because of their connection with rainbows and colour. There are many artists in Forres and Moray and Glasgow School of Art’s new campus is bringing more.
- Other locations in the UK benefit substantially from links to magic and stories - Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland, Harry Potter stories in Edinburgh, Outlander in Scotland.