City Art Centre

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Enjoy a visit to the City Art Centre, a main Edinburgh art gallery with one of the best collections of Scottish art. We show interesting exhibitions from our own collections and from all over the world. We can also tempt you with an excellent café and attractive shop located on the ground floor.

The City Art Centre has a busy programme of exhibitions which change regularly to suit the interests of our visitors. People come to see favourites from the City’s nationally Recognised collection of Scottish art; new work from local or international artists or exhibitions from other countries. Exhibitions of historic and modern photography, contemporary art and design, architecture and the built environment are staged in a rolling programme. We have shown Egyptian and Roman objects and even featured artwork and costumes from the Star Wars films.

An escalator and lift help you move around six floors, and you can be refreshed by sampling the menus in the café, or buy art books, cards, handbags and jewellery from our ground floor shop.

The City Art Centre is conveniently placed near to the Waverley rail station in the city centre.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Mon-Sat 10.00-17.00
Sun 12.00-17.00

Admission charges

Free admission to permanent collection, admission charges may apply to temporary exhibitions.

Collection details

Archives, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
'The Arrival of George IV at Leith Harbour, 1822'

The Artist & the Sea

  • 26 September 2015 — 8 May 2016 *on now

Scotland has a long and complex relationship with the sea - its landscape, history and culture have been shaped by proximity to the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

Over the centuries artists have responded to this influence in various ways. Some have portrayed significant maritime events such as the Battle of Trafalgar or the arrival of King George IV into Leith harbour in 1822. Some have focused on recording the day-to-day experiences of coastal communities, from the lives of the 19th century fisher families based in Newhaven to the heavy industry of 20th century shipyards. Others have responded to the mythology, folklore and traditions associated with Scotland’s seafaring heritage.

Meanwhile, many artists have sought to capture the more elemental character of the sea, depicting its rich natural environment and unpredictable changes in mood. In these artworks, ferocious storms contrast with scenes of sublime beauty. The tensions inherent in our understanding of the sea, as a simultaneous source of wonder, industry and danger, are a recurring motif.

The Artist & the Sea explores these themes and their interpretation by a range of different artists. Selected from the City Art Centre’s collection of historic and contemporary Scottish art, the exhibition contains examples of painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and sculpture. Featured artists include John Bellany, William McTaggart, Joan Eardley and Elizabeth Ogilvie.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


William Gear's piece 'Composition Blue Centre'

William Gear (1915 - 1997): The painter that Britain forgot

  • 24 October 2015 — 14 February 2016 *on now

Timed to coincide with the centenary of his birth, this major survey show seeks to position William Gear in his rightful place as one of the most advanced British abstract painters of his generation.

On display are the whole range of impressive and innovative works spanning Gear’s long and productive career. The exhibition traces his influence through his association with CoBrA in the 1940s, the radical monochrome abstractions of the 1950s, to the exuberance of his mature style from the 1960s to his death in 1997.

A new book written by Andrew Lambirth will accompany the show, which will place Gear’s work in the international context. William Gear (1915-1997): The Painter that Britain forgot is a partnership with the Towner in Eastbourne, where Gear was curator from 1958 to 1964 and where it was on display earlier in the summer.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Making It: Sculpture in Britain 1977-1986

  • 7 May — 3 July 2016

The late 1970s and 1980s witnessed the emergence of a talented generation of artists working in the UK who began to receive international attention for practices which, although diverse, shared a revived interest in the sculpted object, in materials and in ideas around making.

Making It is the first exhibition to survey this moment in British sculpture. It shows how approaches to object making were reinvigorated by earlier breakthroughs in conceptual and performance art made by preceding generations and by sculptural inspirations from beyond these shores.

Drawn primarily from the Arts Council Collection and augmented with loans from UK public and private collections, Making It presents works by over 40 artists including Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Cornelia Parker and Alison Wilding amongst others.


Stephen Collingbourne: Don’t be afraid of Pink

  • 7 May — 3 July 2016

Stephen Collingbourne, a former lecturer of sculpture for over 20 years at Edinburgh College of Art, now concentrates mainly on painting with oils, both on paper and wood panels.

The title for this exhibition, Don’t be afraid of Pink, derives from an experience as a student in the 1960s, when his painting tutor suggested he should work with the colour he most disliked. The idea was that Collingbourne should rid himself of any preconceptions and learn to appreciate the potential of every colour. The colour he disliked most was pink. On display will be a vibrant selection of paintings inspired by this concept.


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.