A brand new festival for the festival city will start next month.

The West End Business Improvement District is starting a new arts festival in April. There are many things planned with exhibitions in three venues and artworks specially commissioned for the event.


Artists Paloma Proudfoot and Aniela Piasecka will collaborate on a new project called The Engagement Party, A Labour of Love. This focuses on the Irregular Border Marriage Registers of Gretna Green at West Register House. This must be one of the most underused buildings in Edinburgh so it is lovely to see it being brought into the mix here.

Inspired by the detailed archives held inside the grand neoclassical building, Proudfoot and Piasecka will bring some of the records to life through outsized surreal sculpture and ceremonial performance featuring singing by Quinie.

The performance element of the work will form and complete the sculptural installation. Both sculpture and performance will act as intermediaries between the exhibition and the wider architectural context of the Scottish Arts Club, which has been reimagined as a venue for a pre-nuptial celebration.

Scottish Arts Club

Following the performance at the opening event, the sculptural remains will be shown at The Scottish Arts Club in Rutland Square for the duration of the festival.

The second major commission ‘Ad plus Ads + Equal Adds = ADD’ will be undertaken by Kevin Harman who will create works placed secretly throughout Edinburgh in advance of the festival and document public reaction to them. 

The pieces and the response will then be exhibited throughout the festival at the Union Gallery on Drumsheugh Place.  Harman is becoming increasingly known for his provocative guerilla-style projects.  Much of his work is concerned with exploring through participative activity, the boundaries around what society finds acceptable: by confronting the territory between the act of creation and the act of experience, linking the art and the audience in the objects themselves.

At William Street’s Gallery Ten there will be an exhibition of original Matisse prints from 25 March to 5 May 2018.

Sunil Varu, Operations Manager of Edinburgh’s West End BID group said:

“Over the past few years, we’ve used art as a way of adding to the area’s appeal as a destination. Edinburgh’s West End is one of the most striking parts of the city but is still something of a hidden gem.  We’ve developed this West End Arts Festival to highlight the character of the area and remind people that there’s a lot to discover here.  By presenting the area in an unconventional way, we’re asking people to take a fresh look at it and explore the fantastic business offering we have here.”

Edinburgh’s West End Arts Festival takes places 7th to 18th April 2018 in in with gallery opening hours:

  • Union Gallery is open 10.30pm -5.30pm, Monday – Saturday
  • The Scottish Arts Club is open 10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Saturday
  • Gallery Ten is open 10.30am to 5.30pm Tuesday – Saturday

More information here.