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:

Gallery

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

Website

http://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/Venues/City-Art-Centre/Exhibitions/2017-18/Hidden-Gems

Installation view of artwork 'Plastic Beach' by Scottish artist Robert Callender

Robert Callender : Plastic Beach …poetry of the everyday

  • 12 May — 8 July 2018

Scottish artist Robert Callender (1932-2011) was driven by his interest in the craft of making and in the environment - particularly the coast, the sea and those who worked on it. A prodigious and technically accomplished output of paintings, work in three dimensions and printmaking is complemented by his writings - succinct prose and poetry on maritime and environmental themes.

Focusing on a selection of the artist’s work, the exhibition addresses environmental concerns, ways and means of recycling; issues that underline the enduring and absolute relevance of Robert Callender’s ideas, particularly his later work which took a distinctly ecological turn with his significant installation 'Plastic Beach'.

Exhibition in partnership with Lateral Lab and the Estate of Robert Callender.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on

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

Admission

Free admission

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/focus-scottish-photography

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

Admission

Free admission

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/edwin-g-lucas-individual-eye

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
A collage made using shells by artist Rachael Forbes

Seashore Surfaces

  • 19 May 2018 10:30am-3:30pm

Inspired and informed by the work of Robert Callender, explore the creative potential of found seaside objects; both natural and man-made to create a seashore inspired textured piece. Here you will re-purpose these objects and create a collage using fabrics, paint, embroidery, and seashore finds such as shells, driftwood, rope, sea-glass and dried seaweed. With artist Rachael Forbes.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£40. To book, please contact the City Art Centre on 0131 529 3993 or visit edinburghmuseums.org.uk

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on

Image of brushes made from wild grasses and driftwood

Tidemarks

  • 19 May 2018 10:30am-12:30pm

This fun, interactive workshop by artist and beachcomber Katie Fowlie of Scottish Beach Finds will encourage you to create pigments and explore mark-making using materials foraged from coastal landscapes. Make your own brushes using driftwood and wild grasses, and combine these in a playful manner with pigments made from organic raw materials. The workshop will prompt reflection and learning about how to use nature creatively - celebrating the richness of coastal landscapes which characterised Robert Callender’s work.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 5-6

Admission

Second drop-in session runs from 1.30-3.30pm.
Suitable for families and children (aged 5+). Free, drop-in, no need to book.

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on

Artwork by Scottish artist Robert Callender

Shipwrecked Concepts and Washed-up Things: Some Lessons the Sea Can Teach Us About the Earth

  • 26 May 2018 From 2pm

Professor Tim Ingold will draw on the work of Robert Callender to reflect on the state of play in the constant battle between the concept-driven attempts of earthbound humans to impose some order on the world, and the ocean’s capacity to dissolve it. Thanks to human excess, it looks as though the ocean may be winning. Can we strike a new balance?

Tim Ingold is Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, and Fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

Free, but booking is essential. To book, please contact the City Art Centre on 0131 529 3993 or visit edinburghmuseums.org.uk

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on

Artwork by Scottish artist Robert Callender

Plastic Man: Short Film Screening, Talk and Q&A

  • 30 May 2018 From 2pm

To complement our exhibition 'Robert Callender : Plastic Beach …poetry of the everyday', come and see BAFTA Scotland nominated short film 'Plastic Man', which received its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and explores our relationships with the environment. Afterwards, there is an opportunity to hear the director Yulia Kovanova talk about the film plus a Q&A session.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Free, but booking is essential. To book, please contact the City Art Centre on 0131 529 3993 or visit edinburghmuseums.org.uk

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on

Artwork by Scottish artist Robert Callender

Our Seas under Pressure

  • 6 June 2018 From 2pm

As part of our programme for the exhibition 'Robert Callender: Plastic Beach… poetry of the everyday', Professor Teresa F Fernandes explores this very important and topical subject, and why we are all responsible for the future of the world’s oceans.

Professor Teresa F Fernandes is Director of the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences at Heriot-Watt University.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

free, but booking is essential. To book, please contact the City Art Centre on 0131 529 3993 or visit edinburghmuseums.org.uk

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on

Artwork by Scottish artist Robert Callender

Stop the Plastic Tide

  • 7 June 2018 From 2pm

To coincide with our exhibition 'Robert Callender : Plastic Beach …poetry of the everyday' and World Oceans Day on 8 June, come along to find out what the Marine Conservation Society is doing to stop the plastic tide and how you can help.

Catherine Gemmell is Scotland’s Conservation Officer for the Marine Conservation Society. The past two years Gemmell has been focusing on the promotion of the beach cleaning and litter surveying project ‘Beachwatch’.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

Free, but booking is essential. To book, please contact the City Art Centre on 0131 529 3993 or visit edinburghmuseums.org.uk

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on

Artwork by Scottish artist Robert Callender

The Artist as Beachcomber: A Tour of the Work of Robert Callender

  • 14 June 2018 From 2pm

Andrew Patrizio will introduce the work of well-known and highly respected Scottish artist Robert Callender, who made an artform out of combing Scotland’s beaches, particularly its far North-Western reaches. His work delights audiences with its clever technique, but there is also a darker message behind the magnificent objects he made.

Andrew Patrizio is Professor of Scottish Visual Culture at Edinburgh College of Art (University of Edinburgh). He is the author of a chapter for the major portfolio book ‘A2B: Robert Callender’ (2015).

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Free, but booking is essential. To book, please contact the City Art Centre on 0131
529 3993 or visit edinburghmuseums.org.uk

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on

Artwork by Scottish artist Robert Callender

Sustainable Shopping: Can Consumers Change the World?

  • 21 June 2018 From 2pm

Are changes we make in our purchasing habits enough to have a positive impact on the environment? From a ban on microbeads and calls to remove plastic in teabags, there have been many high-profile campaigns which have led to changes in what we purchase and how we think about what we consume. This lecture by Kathryn Henderson, Retail and Reception Manager for Museums & Galleries Edinburgh, will examine whether consumer behaviour can lead to environmental change for the better.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

free, but booking is essential. To book, please contact the City Art Centre on 0131 529 3993 or visit edinburghmuseums.org.uk

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on

City Art Centre
2 Market Street
Edinburgh
Lothian
EH1 1DE
Scotland

Website

City Art Centre

www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk

E-mail

Administration

museumsandgalleries@edinburgh.gov.uk

Telephone

Reception

0131 529 3993

Fax

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.
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