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Leading art gallery to close its doors amid funding crisis

This news post is over 1 year old

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s Modern Two building is closed until 2023. 

A charity-run national art gallery in Edinburgh has confirmed it has been forced to close its doors as the running costs crisis continues to hit cultural sites across the country. 

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s Modern Two building will be shut to the public for the rest of the year after its director-general warned that the institution was in financial difficulty.

Sir John Leighton told a Holyrood committee last month that the funding crises facing the cultural sector would lead to a “massively reduced offer”. 

At the time he claimed the lingering impact of the Covid-19, soaring inflation, and rising energy costs meant the National Galleries of Scotland was struggling “to keep the lights on”.

More than 40 staff had already left in a “voluntary exit” scheme to cut costs, and now the gallery will be open by appointment only. 

A sign on the door invites visitors to travel the short distance to Modern One, formerly known as Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

The gallery’s director general told the Times: “The model broke during the pandemic. It would be no exaggeration to say that, as I look to next year and beyond, I am thinking that this is about how we protect the collection, keep the lights on and doors open.”

The announcement comes after the charity behind the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Filmhouse and Aberdeen’s Belmont cinema went into receivership, with the loss of 102 jobs.

A spokesperson for the National Galleries of Scotland told the Scotsman: "The culture sector was badly affected during the pandemic and, like so many national and local cultural organisations, National Galleries of Scotland is still in a period of recovery with visitor numbers and self-generated income still well below pre-COVID levels.

"On top of the lingering impact of the pandemic, we now have a cost of living crisis with rampant inflation and the prospect of dramatic increases in energy costs. 

"Giving evidence at a recent meeting of the Scottish Parliament's Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee, Sir John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland set out some of these challenges for MSPs and gave his views on some of the possible impacts on levels of service in future years.

"It should be stressed that these were potential future scenarios and National Galleries of Scotland will of course work hard, with the support of Scottish Government, to do everything possible to maintain its ambitions and position as a flagship of Scottish culture in the years to come.

"Modern Two closed as planned at the end of the Barbara Hepworth exhibition.

"We will be making announcements about the forthcoming exhibition programme for Modern Two in due course."



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Martin Irons
8 months ago

On a charity committee for 25 years and fundraiser for another. Both Scottish.

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