by Centre of Contemporary Arts (CCA)
Considered a national cultural hub, Glasgow is known for its iconic art nouveau architecture, thriving art scene, and some of the friendliest people you'll meet. Alongside several significant contemporary art organisations and institutions, the wider cultural climate (which includes theatre, dance, opera, live music and more) adds to the richness of its artistic environment.
Among the organisations vital to the lifeblood of Glasgow’s cultural scene is the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow’s hub for the arts. Their year-round programme includes exhibitions, film, music, literature, spoken word, workshops, festivals, Gaelic and performance. At the heart of all activities is the desire to work with artists, commission new projects and present them to the widest possible audience. Their activities extend across the city through their public engagement programme, which has – at its heart – the prospect of social and cultural change explored through art. In addition to the array of activities and events offered, the CCA is home to two wonderful shops - Aye-Aye Books and Welcome Home - as well as the Saramago Cafe Bar.
Below you’ll find a list of art-related places to see and events to attend from across Glasgow, as curated by Julie Cathcart, Communications Manager of CCA.
The Market Gallery opened in Dennistoun in 2000 and presents a range of exhibitions, events and studio projects. At the beginning of Duke Street sits Frutta Gallery - an expansion of the Rome venue and one of Glasgow’s newest contemporary visual arts spaces.
With several exhibition spaces, a performance space, cafe and the beautiful Hidden Gardens, Tramway is a key venue on the Southside. About twenty-five minutes walk, or six minutes on the train, Tramway is also home to a range of festivals including Dance International Glasgow, Take Me Somewhere and Artists’ Moving Image Festival, as well as hosting the Citizens Theatre programme while their Gorbals venue is renovated.
Close to legendary Glaswegian landmarks The Barrowlands and the Barras, Many Studios is a purpose-designed hub with studios, freelance workspace and The Gallow Gate exhibition project space.
Run by a committee of artists, supported by a membership of over 300, Transmission is one of the most-established, artist-run spaces in the city, with a year-round programme of exhibitions, screenings and talks.
Situated in Bridgeton behind Glasgow Green, GWL is the only accredited museum in the UK dedicated to women’s lives, histories and achievements, with a lending library, archive collections and innovative programmes of public events and learning opportunities.
Project Ability, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow Print Studio and Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre are amongst the varied arts organisations which have spaces in the Trongate 103 building.
Celine is an artist-run gallery in a tenement on the lively Victoria Road on Glasgow’s Southside. The gallery opens for exhibition previews and by appointment.
Another volunteer-run organisation, Good Press is dedicated to the promotion and distribution of independently published printed matter with a focus on visual arts and writing.
New Glasgow Society is a civic society promoting, protecting and raising interest in the city, through campaigning, discussion, projects, talks and exhibitions.
Glasgow Women’s Library’s Women Make History group launched Glasgow’s first Women’s Heritage Walk in June 2007 as part of the West End Festival programme. There are now six different walks around the city and a Heritage Bike Ride for those who prefer to travel on two wheels. Walks are open to all and give a unique and inspiring insight into the hitherto unsung women who made Glasgow; pipe-smoking forewomen, revolting schoolmistresses, suffragettes, the brazen women of Glasgow Green, Battling Betty and more.
Sweet study spots
The Mitchell is housed in a stunning building at Charing Cross, beautifully floodlit at night and open throughout the day for study, research and events, including the annual Aye Write - Glasgow’s book festival.
The spacious cafe on the ground floor of this creative office building is a good spot to work at the Merchant City end of town; close to celebrated Glasgow music cafes The 13th Note and Mono.
Though very busy in the evenings and weekends, during weekdays The Glad Cafe is a lovely place to work in the Southside. They also have a fantastic open kitchen and a range of gigs, comedy shows and quiz nights.
The cafe on the top floor of Sauchiehall Street’s branch of Waterstones doubles as an event space, and when it’s quieter is a lovely open space to work in.
Alternative and art cinemas
Us again! We host an exceptional range of screenings from a huge variety of talented organisers including Glasgow Zine Fest, Scalarama, Take One Action, Scottish Queer International Film Festival, Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, Document Human Rights Film Festival, Havana Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow Short Film Festival, Iberodocs, GRAMNet/BEMIS, Queer Classics, Matchbox Cineclub, Cinemaattic, LusoFilm, Glasgow Feminist Arts Festival, and Dardishi.
This Art Deco building on Rose Street has been home to a cinema since the Cosmo opened in 1939. Becoming GFT in 1974, it’s Glasgow’s best-loved cultural cinema. They also produce the annual Glasgow Film Festival - the audience-focused film event brings screenings to GFT, CCA, Cineworld and a host of special events in unique and surprising locations around the city.
Tucked down a lane near Central Station, The Old Hairdressers bar and venue is home to artists’ film screenings, exhibitions and tasty drinks.
A community cinema based in Maryhill, The Seamore shows a variety of films from cult to commercial, and takes part in festivals like Scalarama and SQIFF, alongside an education programme and film-making workshops.
Platform is an arts venue located in the Bridge, a community centre in Easterhouse which is also home to a swimming pool and a library. It has occasional film screenings alongside an impressive theatre and visual arts programme and is well worth the trip.
Adornments for your calendar
Scotland’s largest festival for local and international contemporary art takes place over three weeks in April/May every two years across the city of Glasgow.
Produced by Cryptic, this biennial festival is dedicated to world-class visual sonic arts, and presents exceptional international artists alongside emerging UK talent in diverse venues, Citywide.
Scottish Queer International Film Festival turns five in 2019. With events in CCA, Glasgow Women’s Library, The Art School, GFT, The Seamore Neighbourhood Cinema, Civic House, and the wonderful new LGBT bookshop Category Is Books, their goal is to get people watching, talking about, and making more queer films.
Document is Scotland’s international human rights documentary film festival and comes to CCA in October. It provides a unique platform that attracts local and international documentary filmmakers and promotes discussion, cultural exchange and education.
Established in 2001, Arika is a political arts organisation concerned with supporting connections between artistic production and social change. They produce a festival in Glasgow’s Tramway every eighteen months.
Glasgow’s annual festival of contemporary international performance builds on the legacy of the much-loved Arches arts venue following its closure in 2015. The festival provides a crucial support structure and platform for Scotland’s most vital artists, combined with some of the world’s most cutting-edge contemporary performance makers.
Counterflows was founded in 2012 to provide a platform to a wide array of radical, off-stream and experimental music. Through live events, club nights, discussions, residencies, film screenings and more, Counterflows dreams up ways that myriad local and international artists, communities and audiences can come together, share ideas, challenge hierarchies, push boundaries and quite simply have a lot of fun in the process.