Glasgow, a city that continues to transform following the success of last years Commonwealth Games, seems to have earned its reputation as one of the best destinations in the world to visit for 2016 by National Geographic Traveller. Glasgow’s recent expansion projects such as the SSE Hydro and the Emirates Arena may have supported the city in gaining credibility as a suitable location to host major sporting and entertainment events. This year, Glasgow has successfully managed to attract a unique art event to Scotland for the first time in its history.
One of Europe’s most prestigious contemporary visual art awards, the Turner Prize, has arrived in Glasgow for the first time. The Turner Prize is currently open to the public at the Tramway in Glasgow and will be available to view until January 2016. The prize is awarded each year to a British artist under fifty for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work. The decision to host the Turner Prize exhibition in Glasgow suggests the city may be transforming from a historically industrial city to a culturally significant city with a credible art scene.
Glasgow has produced many famous artists over the years. One of the most notable is Charles Rennie Mackintosh, an architect, designer and artist whose distinctive designs may be found all over Glasgow. During his time in Glasgow, Rennie Mackintosh studied at the Glasgow School of Art which now has a building named after him. Last year, there was a fire incident at the Mackintosh building, however this appears to be in the process of being restored to its former glory. Besides the school of art, Glasgow has a number of hubs around the city that attract creative types and those who are interested in the city’s art scene.
Glasgow is home to more than 20 world-class museums and art galleries, most of which are free entry. The Kelvingrove Museum in the heart of Glasgow’s West End, features a famous Salvador Dali painting amongst other notable art collections. The Kelvingrove Museum has around 22 themed galleries with many interactive displays aimed at engaging younger audiences, making it a great day out for families with children. The building itself is iconic to Glasgow and its design is influenced by the Santiago de Compostela in north eastern Spain.
Tourists visiting Glasgow may choose to visit other art galleries in the city, such as the Burrell Collection in Pollok Country Park. This gallery features a range of work by major artists alongside Chinese and Islamic art. For those who enjoy modern art, the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art is situated in the heart of the city’s shopping district and features many Scottish artists’ work. Further east within Glasgow Green Park is the People’s Palace, which currently features artwork by Scottish comedian Billy Connolly. The People’s Palace is a unique museum as it features a large Victorian glasshouse filled with tropical plants.
A more recent addition to Glasgow’s existing art venues is the Tramway. The building began its life as a tram shed and developed over time to become a visual arts exhibition venue. Tramway offers family sessions and workshops for children as well as visual arts groups to encourage local children to get creative. According to the official Tramway website, the venue has recently experienced the highest attendance figures in 5 years, demonstrating the attraction that the Turner Prize has on a location.
With so much to offer in terms of art, it is unsurprising Glasgow has been chosen to host the Turner Prize this year. Its recent high ranking by National Geographic further suggests that Glasgow may continue to evolve as an appealing tourist destination, with plenty to see and do (which are mostly free!).
What other European cities are famous for their art galleries and artists?