5000 art lovers back online campaign to halt closure of Botanics gallery

The growing online campaign hopes to halt the closure of Inverleith House art gallery.
The growing online campaign hopes to halt the closure of Inverleith House art gallery.
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More than 5000 people have backed a campaign calling for a long-running Edinburgh art gallery to be saved from closure.

Bosses at the Royal Botanic Garden are under mounting pressure to reverse a surprise decision to pull the plug on Inverleith House this weekend after 30 years of hosting exhibitions.

They say they are considering an alternative use for the building, which has played host to shows by the likes of Douglas Gordon, Richard Wright, Callum Innes, Jim Lambie, Cathy Wilkes and Karla Black.

The Botanics management say there were “inevitable financial risks attached to running a high-profile gallery.”

The statement announcing its closure said: "We will continue to use both the overall setting of the garden and other existing indoor spaces to engage our visitors with art in the garden environment. No member of staff will lose their job.

"The intention is very much that we intend to retain our reputation as an art venue across the board, be it for botanical art, illustration, performance, photography, sculpture and contemporary art.'

However the online petition states: “Inverleith House has been a much-loved and deeply valued public arts space in Edinburgh for well over half a century, first as the home of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, then under the management of the Royal Botanic Garden itself.

"Given the importance of the gallery as an iconic location in Edinburgh, and a much-loved space both for the people of the city and for international visitors, it seems outrageous that the RBGE management should seek to close it at just a few days' notice, and without public consultation, apparently with a view to exploiting it for more commercially rewarding purposes.

"Yet the amount of public money invested in maintaining the house as a gallery over the years raises questions about whether the RBG management have any moral right to close it to the public in this way, or have any idea of the sense of loss that will be felt by tens of thousands of people, in Edinburgh and far beyond, who - because of the gallery's unique location - may in some cases have had their first-ever experience of modern art in these beautiful rooms."