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

Monday to Sunday 10am - 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.
Interior of Santa Maria della Salute church in Venice, painted by F.C.B. Cadell

The Italian Connection

  • 7 September 2019 — 23 August 2020 *on now

Creative links between Scotland and Italy have existed for hundreds of years. In the 18th and 19th centuries Scottish artists journeyed to Rome and Florence to advance their professional training and career prospects. Throughout the 20th century this pilgrimage to the Mediterranean continued, with art students undertaking travelling scholarships and mature artists finding inspiration in the landscape and culture. Some even settled there on a long-term basis. The flow of people and ideas has also developed in the opposite direction, with Italian immigrant families making their homes in Scotland and contributing to the artistic milieu.

The Italian Connection explores the enduring bond between these two countries, celebrating the ability of art to transcend geographical borders. Drawn from the City Art Centre’s fine art collection, the exhibition covers a range of media from oil painting and drawing to printmaking and sculpture. Featured artists include Allan Ramsay, E.A Walton, F.C.B. Cadell, Joan Eardley, Eduardo Paolozzi and Elizabeth Blackadder.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Free admission

Website

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

Oil painting by Charles Mackie depicting three girls in a woodland setting

Charles H. Mackie: Colour and Light

  • 15 May — 10 October 2021

The Scottish painter and printmaker Charles Hodge Mackie (1862-1920) was one of the most versatile artists of his generation. Based in Edinburgh, he embraced an international outlook, drawing inspiration from French Symbolism, the Celtic Revival movement and the landscapes of his European travels. His experimentation with different media was similarly wide-ranging, covering oil paintings, watercolours, murals, woodblock prints, book illustration and sculpture.

This major retrospective showcases the breadth of Mackie's creative vision and talents. Charting the story of his career, it traces his development from the rural Scottish landscapes of his youth to his spectacular late Venetian scenes. The exhibition brings together over fifty artworks from public and private collections, including loans from the National Galleries of Scotland, the Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture, and Perth Museum & Art Gallery.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free admission

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/charles-h-mackie-colour-and-light

Silkscreen print by artist Ian Hamilton Finlay

Marine: Ian Hamilton Finlay

  • 22 May — 3 October 2021

Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) was an internationally renowned Scottish artist and also Britain’s most significant concrete poet of the 20th century. This major exhibition focuses on the maritime theme in Finlay’s work. It was a central element of his art, and one to which he returned throughout his life.

Drawn from the artist’s estate and the City Art Centre’s collection, and including loans from the National Galleries of Scotland, this exhibition showcases artworks from across several decades, ranging from stone, wood and neon sculptures to tapestry. The show also features prints, postcards and booklets from Finlay’s Wild Hawthorn Press.

Exhibition in partnership with the Estate of Ian Hamilton Finlay and presented as part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2021.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/marine-ian-hamilton-finlay

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.
Photograph of Stephen Bann and Ian Hamilton Finlay at Little Sparta

Tour of ‘Marine: Ian Hamilton Finlay’

  • 22 May 2021 1:30-2:30pm

Join us for an exhibition tour by Stephen Bann CBE, Emeritus Professor of History of Art and Senior Research Fellow at Bristol University. Bann first met Finlay in Edinburgh in 1964 and has since published regularly on aspects of his work as a poet, artist and gardener and has written the essay for the exhibition catalogue.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/exhibition-tour-marine-ian-hamilton-finlay

Ian Hamilton Finlay in a boat on the pond at Little Sparta.

Working with Ian Hamilton Finlay

  • 29 May 2021 2-3pm

Robin Gillanders regularly worked on collaborative projects with Finlay between 1994 until his death in 2006. He will talk about his experience of that process with reference to the City Art Centre’s recent acquisition of seven photographs from the series 'Ian’s Fleet'.

Robin Gillanders is former Reader in Photography at Edinburgh Napier University. He has exhibited and published widely, including his 1998 National Galleries of Scotland exhibition and publication 'Little Sparta', 'Portrait of a Garden' and 'The Philosopher’s Garden', 2004.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/lecture-working-ian-hamilton-finlay

Photograph of Little Sparta

The Four Seasons in Full Sail: A Year in the Garden at Little Sparta

  • 2 June 2021 2-3pm

Set in the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh, Little Sparta is Finlay’s greatest work of art. Finlay moved to the farm at Stonypath in 1966 and, in partnership with his wife Sue Finlay, began to create what would become an internationally acclaimed garden across seven acres of a wild and exposed moorland site.

In this talk George Gilliland, Head Gardener at Little Sparta, will give a brief description of its themes, content and planting. For the past 9 years he has been responsible for the conservation and care of the garden and its artworks.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/lecture-four-seasons-full-sail-year-garden-little-sparta

Collage and print of ships

Messages and Ships

  • 26 June 2021 10:30am-3:30pm

Exploring the silhouettes of ships in Ian Hamilton Finlay’s work and combining them with evocative words and phrases we will create unique collages using layering and simple printmaking in this adult workshop. With artist Tessa Asquith-Lamb.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£30

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/adult-creative-workshop-messages-and-ships

Photograph of lino prints

Poetic Maritime Prints

  • 3 July 2021 10:30am-3:30pm

Inspired by the maritime theme within Finlay's work we will explore angular mark-making, experiment using block printing colours, mixing inks and layering to create a lino-print in this adult workshop. We will also look at Finlay's playfulness with words to form a short personal sea-inspired poem that you can incorporate into your print. Bring a photo of a seashore or maritime scene to work from. With artist Rachael Forbes.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£30

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/adult-creative-workshop-poetic-maritime-prints

Photograph of a Descriptive Tour for Visually Impaired Visitors

Descriptive Tour for Visually Impaired Visitors of ‘Marine: Ian Hamilton Finlay’

  • 4 September 2021 2-3pm

Join artist Tessa Asquith-Lamb for a tour specifically designed for visually impaired visitors focusing on Marine: Ian Hamilton Finlay. The tour lasts an hour and has full disabled access.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/descriptive-tour-visually-impaired-visitors-marine-ian-hamilton-finlay

Phootgraph of workshop materials

Flags Ahoy

  • 25 September 2021 10am-12:30pm

Come along to these structured family drop-in sessions where you will make some little flags inspired by maritime themes in our Ian Hamilton Finlay exhibition. You could also make some seashore-bunting. With artist Claudia Miller.

Drop-in Sessions: 10.30am - 12.30pm or 1.30 - 4pm

Suitable for

  • Especially for children

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/family-event-flags-ahoy

Photograph of folded paper boats

Push the Boat Out

  • 2 October 2021 2-4pm

This week we celebrated National Poetry Day! Join writer Katy Hastie at a family friendly drop-in poetry session to make nautical collage poems that fold into origami boats to sail the seven seas. All welcome, no experience necessary - just bring your imagination.

Katy Hastie is a writer and poet from Glasgow who works on experimental and hybrid forms of storytelling in community, cultural and academic settings.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children

Website

https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/family-event-push-boat-out

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

Website

City Art Centre

http://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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