Travelling Gallery at 40 - New exhibition celebrates Travelling Gallery’s past, present and future over two floors at the City Art Centre

40 years of the Travelling Gallery is celebrated and showcased in a new exhibition at the City Art Centre, forming part of Edinburgh Art Festival.

The new exhibition, Travelling Gallery at 40 charts the history of the contemporary art gallery in a bus which forms a unique and integral part of Scotland’s cultural provision and its commitment to making art inclusive and accessible. 

From Lerwick to Dumfries and Renfrew to Dunbar, Travelling Gallery has taken art to every part of Scotland so that people from every background and community have had the opportunity to engage with excellent, experimental and inspiring art practices.

In this its fortieth year an exhibition over two floors at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre will celebrate Travelling Gallery’s journey – past, present and future, and take pride in Scotland’s commitment to take art out to communities.

Housed within a newly commissioned and site-specific installation by Scottish artist Mike Inglis entitled ‘Settlement’, an active programme of talks and events will provide a platform for bigger discussions on the accessibility and diversity of contemporary art in Scotland. The programme will not only celebrate the important and integral work of Travelling Gallery but will explore and test its values within today's contemporary context, advocating for its vision that Scotland is a nation in which everyone has the opportunity to experience and engage in the arts. 

Travelling Gallery’s rich and socially important archive will also be shown for the first time alongside some of the original artwork from its incredible exhibitions history. The presentation will celebrate the enjoyment and excellence that has embodied the organisation since its inception in the late 70’s and will allow the viewer to reflect on the last forty years of the Scottish visual art scene.

The artists who have contributed to the Travelling Gallery over the years include Christian Marclay, Lucy Skaer, Tania Kovats, Tessa Lynch, Rob Churn, Torsten Lauschmann, Charles Avery, Rachel Maclean, Ilana Halperan, Christine Borland, Ross Sinclair, Nicolas Party, Ciara Philips, Douglas Gordon, Mandy McIntosh, Dalziel + Scullion, Jonathan Owen, Charlie Hammond and Henry Coombes to name but a few.

Of course, Travelling Gallery will still be on the road its 2018 programme will celebrate the organisations commitment to showcasing the best in current coTG at 40ntemporary art. The Spring exhibition Are Teenage Dreams So Hard to Beat? Explores our adolescence through work by Arpita Shah, Alice Theobald and Holly White. While the Autumn 2018 tour will see a new commission by emerging Scottish artist Gordon Douglas, where he will cleverly observe Travelling Gallery as his subject.

Claire Craig, curator of the Travelling Gallery said: “Everyone involved in the Travelling Gallery over the last forty years is so excited to celebrate and shout about the incredible work the organisation has done and continues to do. Not just in providing access to contemporary art but making it fun, enjoyable and inclusive. The wealth of artists Travelling Gallery has worked with over the years should also be noted, commissioning work by exciting Scottish artists and exhibiting work which is reflects the best of international visual art.”

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Every year, the Edinburgh Art Festival invites artists from all over Scotland and the world to showcase their work in Edinburgh’s labyrinth of art galleries and unusual exhibition spaces. It celebrates contemporary art right across our ancient city, which of course has a long history of promoting the value of culture.

"I’m delighted the Council is yet again able to support this year’s innovative and creative event. It is great to see such a strong programme of female and emerging artists for 2018 and a special look back over 40 years of Edinburgh’s Travelling Gallery at the City Art Centre. The city will be excited and surprised once again by incredible art this summer.”

Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, Director Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, previous Travelling Gallery Curator and Driver said: “Whenever I am asked to talk about my career, ‘My Days as a Bus Driver’ is a great way to start!  It was the Travelling Gallery that ignited my passion for engaging art with audiences - something that has driven my career to this day. Not only organising the exhibitions but being on the bus, talking to the public and hearing their response informed my belief that it’s not art that puts people off – it’s the context in which it’s presented. The bus removes all barriers to access – it was a great learning experience for a young curator.”

Travelling Gallery is a contemporary art gallery in a bus. It was initiated by the Scottish Arts Council in 1978 and began as a one-person curator and driver operation. In 1983 it was considered so successful that SAC invested in a new bus, purpose designed, which went out on the road for the next 25 years.

Travelling Gallery at 40 is part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2018. Find out more about this year’s Festival programme at @EdArtFest #EdArtFest


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