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.
Sculpture 'The Eye Has It' by Richard Deacon

Making It: Sculpture in Britain 1977-1986

  • 7 May — 3 July 2016 *on now

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.


Abstract painting by Stephen Collingbourne

Stephen Collingbourne: Don’t be afraid of Pink

  • 7 May — 3 July 2016 *on now

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.


Linotype artwork by Jane Hyslop

Paper Trail: Drawings, Watercolours, Prints

  • 2 July 2016 — 21 May 2017

A blank piece of paper is one of the most basic materials available to a visual artist. Yet it is also among the most versatile. The range of work that can be produced using paper is potentially limitless. Rough sketches, finely detailed drawings, atmospheric pastel studies, delicate watercolours, and a variety of printmaking techniques including etching, lithography and woodcut, all take their starting point with a fresh sheet of paper.

Paper Trail: Drawings, Watercolours, Prints explores some of the many ways that artists create works on paper. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the City Art Centre’s permanent collection of historic and contemporary Scottish art, and spans the period from the late 18th century to present day. A variety of creative processes are showcased, from the use of sketchbooks to etching plates, and artists’ individual working practices are examined in depth.

The exhibition includes a selection of work by celebrated figures like Anne Redpath, Joan Eardley, Eduardo Paolozzi and Paul Sandby. It also introduces some lesser-known artists such as James Watterston Herald, Katherine Cameron and Mabel Royds, whose careers and methods are not so familiar. In addition, Paper Trail presents a number of recent acquisitions to the City Art Centre’s collection, some of which are on public display for the first time. These include works by Victoria Crowe, Ian Hamilton Finlay and the early 19th century artist Robert Batty.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Still life oil painting 'Shadowed Interior' by William Gillies

William Gillies & John Maxwell

  • 30 July — 23 October 2016

William Gillies and John Maxwell were among the most significant and distinctive Scottish artists of the 20th century. Gillies is best known for his tonal landscapes, spontaneous watercolours and carefully constructed still lifes, while Maxwell is remembered for his expressive, dream-like depictions of creatures, flowers and timeless nudes. The two artists pursued differing approaches in their work, and had contrasting personalities, but remained life-long friends.

Gillies and Maxwell met at Edinburgh College of Art in the early 1920s. After completing their studies both received travelling scholarships, which enabled them to live and work in Paris and encounter avant-garde movements like Post-Impressionism and Cubism. As they matured they developed in different creative directions. Yet their lives continued to interweave as they travelled, exhibited and socialised together. Both joined the staff at Edinburgh College of Art, and while Gillies’ teaching career was longer than Maxwell’s, each of them proved to be a considerable influence on the next generation of Scottish painters.

William Gillies & John Maxwell traces the careers of these two artists, exploring the parallel development of their work and their enduring friendship. It showcases some of their finest drawings and paintings, including the Fletcher Collection, a group of 43 artworks that has been on long-term loan to the City Art Centre since 1995. This is the first time in over twenty years that the Collection has been displayed together in its entirety.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


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.