City Art Centre

Image of City Art Centre
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In the heart of the city, next to Waverley station, the City Art Centre is one of Edinburgh’s main public art galleries, with a vibrant programme of temporary shows.

It is home to the city’s collection of historic and contemporary Scottish art, one of the best in the country, showcased in a series of changing displays. The gallery hosts a wide range of temporary exhibitions in different media by local, national and international artists.

There are guided tours for visitors, regular family activities, and the ArtSpace activity area for hands-on creativity. The Shop will entice you with its variety of art books, postcards, jewellery and gifts, while the Café will welcome you with delicious food, home-baking and coffee, making the City Art Centre a wonderful venue for a great day out.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Wednesday to Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 12noon - 5pm

Admission charges

Free. Admission charges may apply to some exhibitions.

The City Art Centre is an impressive nine-storey former warehouse located in the heart of Edinburgh. Originally constructed between 1899 and 1902, it was converted into gallery use in 1980. As well as mounting a busy programme of temporary exhibitions, it houses the City of Edinburgh's nationally recognised collection of Scottish art. With over 4,500 works, it includes paintings by the majority of Scotland's greatest artists from the seventeenth century onwards, including Allan Ramsay, Sir Henry Raeburn, William McTaggart, the Scottish Colourists, and Joan Eardley, as well as a fine collection of contemporary Scottish art.

Collection details

Archives, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Photography

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Painting of three fishermen in Arbroath harbour

Hidden Gems

  • 7 October 2017 — 13 May 2018 *on now

The City Art Centre’s fine art collection numbers over 4,800 items. Some ‘old favourites’ in the collection are exhibited often, but others have rarely ever been seen by the public. Some of these are stand-alone artworks that do not fit easily into thematic or chronological displays. Others represent unfamiliar periods in artists’ careers, or are by artists who were successful in their day but are now virtually forgotten. Some artworks have simply never had a chance to shine.

Hidden Gems focuses on these lesser-known treasures, celebrating the unsung and the unusual. The exhibition reveals artworks in a variety of media dating from the 18th century to present day. Among the featured artists are Joshua Reynolds, Lucien Pissarro, Jessie M. King, Man Ray, Cecile Walton, Frank Auerbach and Louise Hopkins. Several new acquisitions to the collection are also showcased for the first time, including work by Morris Grassie, Anthony Hatwell and Nicol Laidlaw.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Mid 19th century photograph of a woman in a shawl, turned away from the camera.

In Focus: Scottish Photography

  • 7 July 2018 — 12 May 2019

Scotland has played a central role in the history of fine art photography since the mid 19th century. The pioneering work of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson helped to lay the foundations of this art form in the 1840s, inspiring subsequent generations to explore both its documentary potential and aesthetic possibilities.

'In Focus: Scottish Photography' showcases the City Art Centre’s photographic collections, charting the development of fine art photography in Scotland from the 19th century to present day. The exhibition features work by a range of historic and contemporary artists, including Hill and Adamson, Thomas Begbie, Joseph McKenzie, David Williams, Maud Sulter, Wendy McMurdo, Calum Colvin, Christine Borland and Dalziel + Scullion.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Free admission


Surrealist view of the interior of Princes Street Railway Station

Edwin G. Lucas: An Individual Eye

  • 4 August 2018 — 10 February 2019

Edwin G. Lucas (1911-1990) was one of the most unique Scottish painters of the 20th century. Born and raised in Edinburgh, he channelled the influence of Surrealism in his work, cultivating an original and highly imaginative style of painting during the 1940s and 1950s that set him apart from his contemporaries. Today, however, he is virtually unknown.

'Edwin G. Lucas: An Individual Eye' is the first major exhibition to focus on this unusual and enigmatic artist. Featuring over sixty artworks from public and private collections, including loans from the artist’s estate and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, it traces the untold story of Lucas’s life and career.

This exhibition will be accompanied by the forthcoming illustrated catalogue 'Edwin G. Lucas: An Individual Eye', written by Helen E. Scott and due to be published by Sansom & Co in August 2018.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Free admission


City Art Centre
2 Market Street


City Art Centre





0131 529 3993


0131 529 3977

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.