The Travelling Gallery Scottish Arts Council Edinburgh Council Scottish Arts Council Lottery Funded

Who we are. What we do

Background and history to the Travelling Gallery

Red and Green Bus - The first vehicleThe Travelling Gallery was established by the Scottish Arts Council (SAC) in 1978.

The first vehicle was a converted double-decker bus and it was staffed by a lone Curator/Driver. The project proved so successful that in 1983 the SAC commissioned, at a cost of £60,000, the custom built vehicle which was used for the next 25 years.

In 1996 the SAC sought applications from other organisations or individuals to take over the running of the Travelling Gallery with funding from the SAC. The City of Edinburgh Council was the successful applicant and in April 1997 ownership of the vehicle was transferred and a 3 year funding plan agreed with the Scottish Arts Council.

In 2006 the Travelling Gallery was granted lottery funding of £173,500 through the Scottish Arts Council, plus £100,000 from the City of Edinburgh Council and additional funding from the ADAPT trust and Friends of the City Art Centre, in order to research, develop and build a new vehicle to replace the gallery built in 1983, now 25 years old. The current vehicle was launched in April 2007.

The Travelling Gallery is based at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh, supported by the City of Edinburgh Council Cultural Services Department. It continues to run a national service throughout Scotland.

The Vehicle

The beautiful new Travelling Gallery bus was launched in Edinburgh on 12th April 2007. It has improved access, more floor space, new hi-tech audio visual equipment and increased security. It replaces the old Travelling Gallery vehicle which is now 25 years old.

The Travelling Gallery is a custom-built single-storey unit based on a Scania Omni Dekka 12 metre chassis. The bodywork was built by East Lancashire Coachbuilders in Blackburn and the interior was fitted out by W H Bence Coachworks in Yate near Bristol. The interior was designed by Sutherland Hussey Architects. The exterior artwork was created by Glasgow based artist Mandy McIntosh. Its height of 3.2m is lower than an actual double-decker bus.

Access is similar to a conventional bus, through doors opposite the driver's cab. There is an inbuilt ramp to aid access for wheelchair users and pushchairs, and the gallery can also kneel to lower the entrance to street or pavement level. The interior of the vehicle is level.

The interior of the gallery is an attractive and welcoming single rectangular space. The floor is carpeted and natural light enters through roof panels and a narrow window at the rear of the gallery, with additional lighting provided by a suspended lighting track. The natural light can be dimmed using the remote control roof blinds.

Additional storage and access to the on-board generator is at the rear of the vehicle, accessed through an exterior door at the rear off-side of the gallery. This also contains access to the electrical fuse box etc.

Electricity is required from an external source. Two all-weather leads are carried, and these are used to plug into 13amp sockets in an adjacent building. Where this is not possible the built-in Fischer Panda on-board generator is used.

The gallery has an air conditioning system as well as Webasto diesel powered heating and an air extraction system.

The new Travelling Gallery was made possible through a National Lottery grant of £173, 500 from the Scottish Arts Council, over £100,000 of funding from The City of Edinburgh Council, who have run the gallery since 1997, and additional funding from The Friends of The City Art Centre and the Adapt Trust.

Click here to see the Travelling Gallery being built.

The Exhibitions

The exhibition programme imaginatively includes both established and up and coming artists from home and abroad showing work in a variety of media which is challenging, of high quality, communicative and engaging to a diverse audience.

The programme gives audiences throughout Scotland the opportunity to experience exhibitions by internationally renowned Scottish artists as well as artists from around the world.

Exploring concepts and technologies which are representative of current trends in international, contemporary art, the exhibitions range from specially commissioned one and two-person installations to themed group shows and visionary collaborations.

From time to time, exhibitions may reflect the concerns and interests of minority communities. For example, Wish I Was Here represented displaced people with more than one culture and language; See, Sense was curated to be accessible to people with a visual impairment; The Park was of local interest to the 3 local authority areas toured, Argyll and Bute, Stirlingshire and West Dunbartonshire.

The Travelling Gallery supports artists by implementing Exhibition Payment Rights for each exhibition in accordance with SAC and NAA recommendations.