Big names sign open letter to save unique cultural assett
November 8, 2016
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When Inverleith House was closed as a contemporary art gallery without notice by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s Board of Trustees two weeks ago, the decision provoked protests that included a petition that now has almost 9000 signatures, a mass visit on the final day of what may turn out to have been the gallery’s last exhibition, and a wave of media interest. Product asked RBGE’s Board of Trustees twenty three questions (see link below) about their decision regarding Inverleith House, which has been a unique space for contemporary art for thirty years, and exhibited work by many Turner Prize winners. To date, none of those questions have been answered. Today, an open letter was sent to the RGBE Board by more than 200 high-profile international artists, curators, writers, actors and musicians questioning the decision. International figures such as Tracey Emin and Callum Innes stand alongside writers Ali Smith and Irvine Welsh and actor Ewan McGregor expressing horror at the Board’s plan to axe a major public asset without notice or consultation.
The letter states, “while we accept that the future of Inverleith House falls within the jurisdiction of RBGE, we feel that its loss is of international cultural significance. In light of wide spread public dismay, we ask that the decision to bring to an end 30 years of contemporary art programming at Inverleith House be reopened for debate at the next meeting of the Board of Trustees in December of 2016 and that the wider community be given an opportunity to participate. We also urge the Board of Trustees of RBGE to work in cooperation with Creative Scotland to seek ways of securing the long-term future of Inverleith House as a contemporary art gallery, a future that reflects its 30 years of excellence in visual art and botanical programming. Inverleith House is not just a contemporary art gallery; it is a national treasure and an international beacon of our culture. Closing the doors of this cultural asset with no plans for the future of the building is unthinkable and leaves us all diminished.”
To read the letter in full and add your name as a signatory go to: http://www.saveinverleithhouse.com
Twenty three questions for the Royal Botanic Gardens: https://www.productmagazine.co.uk/ideas/open-letter/