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Best Contemporary Art Galleries in Edinburgh


Edinburgh’s small contemporary art galleries are often overlooked thanks to the larger, renowned art behemoths that are the national galleries, but these alternative modern art spaces are worth exploring on any visit to the city. They are a treasure trove of visual art and a fantastic place to discover new, up and coming artists, both local and national. These are some of our favourite contemporary art spaces in the city…


Originally set up in 1984 as a progressive artist-run organisation, Collective is now a not-for-profit operation with a focus on experimentation and innovation. Exhibitions are mainly focused on visual art and emerging artists, specifically recent graduates. Collective is in the process of moving premises to the old City Observatory on Calton Hill and hopes to open the re-imagined building in late 2018. Collective are particularly masterful a curating group shows and experimental pieces with traditional media.

The Fruitmarket Gallery

One of the city’s more well-known contemporary art spaces, The Fruitmarket Gallery hosts a range of exhibitions from influential British and international artists including Louise Bourgeois, Toby Paterson, Jim Lambie and Douglas Gordon. Set across two levels, the building was originally a fruit and vegetable market before being renovated to a gallery space. The gallery hosts individual as well as group shows, talks and interviews with artists. Located right in the middle of the city, right beside Waverley station, this gallery space is really easy to get to and only a few minutes’ walk from both Old Town Chambers and The Edinburgh Grand.

Ingleby Gallery

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Two installation shots from our current exhibition Jacob’s Ladder ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Installation view of works (from left to right) by Georges Méliès, Katie Paterson, Richard Forster, Cornelia Parker and Alicja Kwade ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Jacob’s Ladder is currently on show at Ingleby, inside the former Glasite Meeting House on 33 Barony Street, Edinburgh ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We are open from Wednesday - Saturday, 11am - 5pm ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @corneliaparkerartist @katiempaterson @alicjakwade @inglebygallery @edartfest #iglebygallery #GeorgesMéliès #katiepaterson #richardforster #corneliaparker #alicjakwade #exhibition #jacobsladder #eaf2018 #contemporaryart #contemporaryartist #collector #edinburgh

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In a renovated industrial building overlooking Waverley train station, Ingleby Gallery was established in 1998 and runs an impressive programme of commercial exhibitions in addition to off-site projects and events. Previous commissions have included pieces by Tacita Dean and Antony Gormley. Ingleby focus on cutting edge and conceptual art including its well-known public art project Billboard for Edinburgh in which commissioned pieces by prominent artists are featured on the side of its building. Upstairs the gallery features an airy, open space for larger pieces and exhibitions whilst downstairs is home to a smaller, more intimate gallery.

Dovecot Studios

Founded in 1912 by the fourth Marquess of Bute, Dovecot Studios is mainly a tapestry venture with links to the William Morris Craft movement. Currently located in the renovated Infirmary Street Baths in the old town, Dovecot also provides space fr a whole host of cross-discipline contemporary art exhibitions. Visitors can observe the intricate weaving process from the viewing balcony before exploring the studio’s other spaces and artwork on offer. Previous artist collaborations have included Henry Moore, Stanley Spencer and David Hockney.


Founded in 1977, Stills has been Scotland’s Centre for Photography and Edinburgh’s only dedicated photography gallery. Found on the iconic Cockburn Street the space’s year long programme included photography exhibitions, film screenings, installations and performance pieces. The gallery has a huge technology offering taken advantage of local artists who can hire equipment, undertake training and gain access to photographic facilities. Walk past the space on a dark night and the windows are lit up with artist’s projections. Expect big exhibitions during the month of August when the festival is in town too!


The Embassy, located in the city’s New Town is one of Edinburgh’s oldest artist-run gallery spaces. The gallery usually exhibits group shows with many Edinburgh College of Art alumni having close links to the space. The gallery is run by a committee of artists (which changes often so expect new directions regularly) and was set up to represent Edinburgh’s grassroots creative community. There is an annual member’s show where visitors can view some of the most innovative modern art from local artists.

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