Galleries and studios across Scotland are ready to welcome visitors after lockdown

Published: 26 Apr 2021

Scotland's art is here to welcome you

From the Pier Arts Centre in Orkney to CAMPLE LINE Gallery in Dumfries and Galloway all over the country this spring and summer, Scotland’s art galleries, studios, contemporary art venues and production workshops are opening up. Now a new campaign to help the public find their nearest gallery and champion Scotland’s world class contemporary art and studio facilities has been launched.

The #ArtUnlocks campaign organised by Scottish Contemporary Art Network (SCAN), will highlight the cultural opportunities in neighbourhoods across Scotland, with venues that are ready to welcome visitors and artists from 26th April over the coming months. New openings will be announced and shared using the hashtag #ArtUnlocks and a continually refreshed list of contemporary art openings will be available at: For many across Scotland, engaging with and enjoying art has been an essential part in improving well being with the latest figures showing that 96% of Scotland’s population have engaged in cultural activity from home during the pandemic and as we begin the exit from lockdown over 80% have said they want to attend cultural events as we begin the exit from lockdown.

As #ArtUnlocks new exhibitions, that have remained behind closed doors for months, are finally ready to open. In Dundee, artist Emma Talbot, fresh from winning the 2020 Max Mara Art Prize, will present her first ever solo show in Scotland. Ghost Calls, opening on 28th April, will create a new, painterly world in the gallery for audiences to step into. In Edinburgh, Dovecot Gallery present a brand new show of Scotland’s forgotten pop artist, Archie Brennan. Opening on the 26th April Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop! Celebrates Pop artist, weaver, and former Mr Scotland, Archie Brennan who changed the course of modern weaving and is considered one of the greatest unrecognised artists of the twentieth century.

After long winter months of hard work, screen fatigue and zoom calls, galleries will provide a refreshing change. In Glasgow the much-loved CCA in Sauchiehall Street re-opens on Friday 30th April in preparation for a new exhibition in partnership with Glasgow School of Art. The title of the exhibition, ambi, is Punjabi for the pattern known in Scotland as Paisley Pattern. Opening on Friday 7th May ambi features artists Rabiya Choudry, Fiona Jardine, Raisa Kabir & Hanneline Visnes who will create new works in response to works from the textiles, fashion and costume holdings at The Glasgow School of Art Archives & Special Collections. Glasgow Women’s Library will also reopen their inspiring space and lending library on 4th May which will be complemented by the Open The Door online literary festival taking place on Thursday 20 - Saturday 22nd May.

After a year in which we have learned to meet and socalise in the fresh air, communities will also be able to enjoy art outdoors as Collective Edinburgh opens its grounds on Calton Hill ahead of a new large-scale tapestry by artist Christian Newby in the unique City Dome gallery space on 13th May. Sculpture park Jupiter Artland is currently open for visitors and on 8th May will unveil a brand new work by Rachel Maclean who represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2017. Developed with teenangers across Scotland her new work responds to the pressures facing young people in the pandemic, the rise of online culture and the decline of real life spaces in high streets and countryside. Alongside, visitors can see four landmark works made by the artist during the last decade. Just outside Arbroath, former art school and historic Arts & Crafts House Hospitalfield will open its revitalised gardens to the public for the first time alongside the opening of a new cafe and restored fernery on the 27th May. Installed throughout the grounds will be a new commission of sculptures by artist Mick Peter. Peter’s Gerroff! (or User Feedback) will be a series of scenes that create a trail at Hospitalfield. The lifesize sculptures will address in a humorous way, the ‘rules’ of engagement with art.

The run of award winning Glasgow based artist Sara Barker’s exhibition Undo the Knot re opens on 29th May and will be extended at CAMPLE LINE gallery near Thornhill in Dumfries and Galloway and in Orkney the Pier Arts Centre permanent collection comes to life in a new arrangement. Colour Recharged - New perspectives on the Pier Arts Centre Collection sees new displays of the collection focus on colour and the joy art can offer. The exhibition will be a chance to see some old favourites from the collection, including work by Stanley Cursiter, Margaret Tait and Sylvia Wishart, alongside iconic sculptures and paintings by Barbara Hepworth, Naum Gabo and Ben Nicholson.

For artists, and those keen to return to studios and workshops, the easing of restrictions also sees some of the country’s leading studio and production facilities re-open. These include one of Europe’s largest printmaking facilities at Edinburgh Printmakers, whose workshops open to members on April 27th, Glasgow Print Studios open their facilities on Tuesday 27th April and in Dundee DCA Print Studio opens on Wednesday 28th April.

All of the above are just a taster of the contemporary art offerings and openings to come as #ArtUnlocks.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign SCAN Director Moira Jeffrey said:
“As Scotland begins to open up after a long, tough winter, we’re delighted to be sharing the good news that contemporary art is safe, family-friendly and opening soon in your neighbourhood. From Orkney to rural Dumfriesshire, Dundee to Edinburgh and Glasgow, you will be able to visit outdoor and indoor venues this spring and summer. As art unlocks its doors across the country, we know it also unlocks potential, new ideas and health and wellbeing. Scotland’s art galleries, workshops, and contemporary art venues are waiting to welcome you.”

Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts, Creative Scotland, said:
"Scotland is home to an exceptional network of galleries and studio spaces that bring great art and inspiring artists into our communities and our lives.  Throughout the pandemic these organisations have used new and imaginative ways to reach out to people, underscoring the vital role that art and creativity play in our wellbeing.

"The re-opening of galleries and studio spaces will make it possible for people to see and make art in real life again, and that’s a very exciting and welcome prospect.  Whether you’re a regular gallery goer or somebody who’s just curious to visit somewhere new there’s a tremendous range of opportunities opening up across the country.  

"You can be confident these are spaces that can be visited safely thanks to the care and hard work of the gallery and studio operators - and #ArtUnlocks is a superb way to find out more."

Beth Bate, Director of Dundee Contemporary Arts, said:
“After a long period of closure and disruption we couldn’t be more excited to finally be reopening our doors. We know from the feedback we’ve received from audiences, artists and staff over this difficult time how much they’re looking forward to being able to return – and we have a range of safety measures in place, from bookable gallery slots to increased cleaning schedules, to ensure a visit to DCA is safe, welcoming and enjoyable. Whether you’re visiting our stunning new exhibition by Emma Talbot, getting creative with your family in our Create Space, producing new work in our Print Studio or enjoying a visit to our Shop and Café Bar, we truly can’t wait to welcome you.”

Francis McKee, Director at CCA, said:
"We're really looking forward to reopening at the end of this month. Our approach will be careful and gradual, with our resident shops, Aye-Aye Books and Welcome Home, opening from 30 April, before ambi, our exhibition in partnership with Glasgow School of Art Exhibitions, opens on Friday 7 May. Rabiya Choudhry, Fiona Jardine, Raisa Kabir and Hanneline Visnes present work inspired by pieces from the textiles, fashion and costume archive at GSA. It's exciting to be able to welcome audiences back to CCA for this very special exhibition, and we wish art venues across Scotland the very best with opening their venues to the public for much-missed art experiences."

Follow the campaign on social for the latest updates using the hashtag #ArtUnlocks and visit: for updates.


Scottish Contemporary Art Network (SCAN) connects and champions Scotland’s contemporary art community. Its 297 organisational and individual members work at the heart of communities from Shetland to the Scottish Borders and from East Lothian to the Western Isles.  They include Scotland’s leading galleries, artists’ studios, workshops and production facilities and a highly skilled workforce of artists, art workers and creative thinkers. They sustain a network of free at the point of access galleries and venues, responsive and flexible institutions that anchor local communities and open their doors to their neighbours and visitors alike. Follow SCAN @sca_net and

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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For further information, press requests and images, please contact Owen O’Leary on 07815 992 658 or email or Nicola Jeffs on 07794 694 754