Throwing support behind Edinburgh's museums and galleries

Enhancing our artistic offering is important for the city, writes Cllr Richard Lewis, Convener of Culture and Sport.

The recent announcement by Creative Scotland of funding to help refurbish and update both the Collective and Fruitmarket galleries is to be welcomed. The City of Edinburgh Council has long recognised the importance of these institutions to the city and through the Culture and Sport service recently committed £900,000 to the relocation and refurbishment of the Collective Gallery, allowing a building of historical significance on Calton Hill to be brought back into use, while also agreeing to host the Fruitmarket Gallery office and storage function during the refurbishment of their own building on Market Street. This was in recognition of the important role both organisations play in Edinburgh’s cultural offering. 

As home to the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh is well served when it comes to art institutions. However, the contribution of some of the smaller galleries across the city is equally important and should not be underestimated. Current exhibitions such as Bertille Bak’s at Collective and Louise Bourgeois at Fruitmarket offer unique experiences for residents and visitors to Edinburgh and help the diverse offering that is important for Edinburgh to nurture.  

The City of Edinburgh Council also has a direct role to play in the art offering of the city. We are responsible for a collection of over 4,500 fine art pieces which have been recognised of being of national importance by the Scottish Government and includes works by great Scottish artists such as Samuel Peploe, Joan Eardley and Elizabeth Blackadder, a worthy recipient of the 2012 Edinburgh Award. With help from Museums and Galleries Scotland, the Council has created a dedicated space in the City Art Centre that will allow visitors to view a year round rolling programme of this collection. The Council also funds and works closely with the Edinburgh Art Festival, a recent welcome addition to Edinburgh’s festival offering, which supports the varied and growing visual art sector in the city. 

This administration has pledged to invest in and enhance the cultural infrastructure in the city. At a time when monies are tight, the type of joint working described above with various partners across the city makes perfect sense and will allow us to enhance our cultural offering. 

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener of the Culture and Leisure Committee at the City of Edinburgh Council

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