by Jupiter Artland
With its handsome medieval buildings and towering hills, the capital of Scotland makes for the perfect setting to nurture artistic inspiration. Though more known for its theatre arts and comedy festivals, Edinburgh has an established network of contemporary art organisations that are significant to the arts of the UK as a whole. One such organisation that has a claim to this accolade is Jupiter Artland.
Situated just outside Edinburgh, Jupiter Artland is a contemporary sculpture garden set in over 100 acres of meadow and woodland with a growing collection of permanent site-specific sculptures from artists including Phyllida Barlow, Christian Boltanski, Anish Kapoor, Cornelia Parker and Antony Gormley. Every year Jupiter present exhibitions across 5 indoor gallery spaces alongside an exciting seasonal programme of events, including Jupiter Rising, a weekend festival of art and performance within the landscape. Jupiter is open from the beginning of May to the end of September each year and easily accessed by bus from Edinburgh City Centre.
Below are a few of the best art spots in and around Edinburgh, as selected by Will Carey, Arts Administration Assistant at Jupiter Artland.
Perched amongst the monuments of Calton Hill in the old City Observatory, Collective’s distinct surroundings make for a unique space that often highlights new talent. Be sure to check out the work of the best emerging artists and curators presented through their Satellites programme.
The University of Edinburgh’s very own gallery combines white cube space with a vast Georgian hall. Often utilising and highlighting the University’s varied and impressive collections, their programme showcases the works of prominent international and UK-based artists alongside supporting student talent.
An artist-run studio complex and exhibition space, Rhubaba offers an eclectic programme of events and exhibitions designed to foster community and support emerging artists within the city. You can even sing in their community choir!
Currently undergoing renovation and extension ready for a grand re-opening in 2020, the Fruitmarket Gallery is known for offering a rich and vital calendar of exhibitions and events. It’s accompanying bookshop is definitely a good spot to find good critical reading and will be remaining open in Waverley Mall during the works.
Run by a voluntary committee of artists, Embassy provides an inventive and hugely fun programme supporting emerging talent. Its yearly Annuale festival is a city-wide celebration of grassroots creativity and new ideas.
The purpose-built facilities are a great resource for fabrication, with wood and metalworking facilities, a foundry, and a great accompanying programme of courses to learn new skills. With delicious on-site café and exhibition space, showcasing the diversity of contemporary sculpture, it’s easy to while away an afternoon here.
Martin Creed, Work no.1059, 2011
A grand staircase running from Market Street all the way up to the Scotsman Hotel on North Bridge; each step is made from a different type of marble creating an impressive spectrum of colour and pattern. Easily missed if you’re in a hurry but definitely worthy of closer inspection. One of a series of permanent commissions by Edinburgh Art Festival located throughout the city.
Antony Gormley, 6 times, 2010
Running along the Water of Leith spine of Edinburgh from the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to the Firth of Forth, six of Gormley’s iconic figures are located in the river and can be viewed from the leafy trail running alongside.
Lucy Wayman, Clovehitch, 2019
Emerging artist and Edinburgh College of Art Graduate Lucy Wayman was commissioned by Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop to create a public sculpture along one of the busy cycle paths winding through the city. Incorporating traditional intricate craft techniques on a grand scale, Clovehitch will be available to view until 2020.
The School of Art Friday Lectures, Edinburgh College of Art
On most Friday lunchtimes during the semester the college of art host different artist practitioners in their main lecture hall to give insight into their work and the wider art world. Always free and welcome to all, you never know quite what to expect.
The Mural Project, Leith Late Festival, 2013-present
The yearly Leith Late festival supports and celebrates the creativity and distinct personality within the area of Leith in the north of the city, commissioning new street murals every year. A stroll through Leith will unveil many a treasure from years past.
Sweet study spots
Tucked down a cobbled side street next to the central university campus and serving some of the best coffee in the city, Brewlab is a hit amongst students and always good for a quick caffeine boost.
Just a stone’s throw away from the college of art and design, Love crumbs is the perfect cosy spot to crack on with studies accompanied by a massive slab of cake, arguably the best in Edinburgh.
Situated bang in the centre of Edinburgh, New College Library proves to be an oasis of calm and unknown by many. Very easy to while away hours in the beautiful interior, hidden amongst the bookshelves.
On a sunny day it is hard to resist the pull of the meadows, the vast parkland perfect for lounging, barbequing, throwing a Frisbee and (intermittent) study.
Alternative and art cinemas
There are 3 arthouse cinemas situated throughout Edinburgh all with excellent and varied programming: The Filmhouse on Lothian Road, The Cameo at Tollcross and Dominium in Morningside with some great student discounts. Every June the International Film festival comes into town, expect a whole host of exciting film screenings, premieres and associated events.
Adornments for your calendar
Edinburgh isn’t known as the festival city without reason. Expect festivals galore throughout the year with August bringing in an exhilarating month of International Festival, Fringe Festival, Book Festival and Art festival events all running concurrently. There’s nothing quite like it in the world.
Nestled within the iconic landscape here at Jupiter Artland, Jupiter Rising in an annual celebration of cutting-edge creativity in performance, live art, moving image and sound. Spend the weekend revelling in art, music and nature.
A grassroots festival taking over different disused spaces each year, Hidden Door brings a full weekend of music, art and performance in new unexpected locations.
The yearly Art Festival in Edinburgh, seeing brand new artist commissions in unexpected locations throughout the city alongside a diverse programme of exhibitions and events from a whole host of partner institutions.