Art Expeditions: Spaces Beyond Glasgow City Centre

Glasgow's art scene is well-known for its changing and resourceful use of space, so here's a handy guide to the exhibition and event spaces beyond the better known city centre galleries.

Feature by Adam Benmakhlouf | 19 Oct 2016

Maybe you’re new to Glasgow (welcome all freshers!), or perhaps you've been kept occupied by the more than generous contemporary art offerings from the likes of Modern Institute, Trongate 103, CCA and GoMA. But there's plenty more beside the city centre stalwarts, if you just head north. Or east. Or south, or west.

A short walk, train or bus ride away from the city centre, there are new galleries making use of front rooms of flats, shop fronts or converted industrial buildings. Some of the less established, more casual spaces might not have such a regular programme, but thanks to Facebook events and mailouts (and the convention of free drinks at openings) previews and events are just as busy as at the city centre big boys. Here's a look at some of Glasgow's best galleries and art spaces, beyond the city centre's bounds. 


For the North, Glasgow Sculpture Studios and The Glue Factory are the big hitters. GSS is continuing its gradual bottom-up refit of its relatively massive red brick building – handy for orienting oneself when walking from town. There's occasionally a show on one of these floors, aside from the more official GSS gallery programme. In the main space, they host a strong programme of international and Scottish artists, and even between shows there’s a nice cafe and picturesque spot by the canal.

Down the road a bit is the grimier (in a good way) Glue Factory; like the GSS the Glue is slowly renovating itself at the same time as being a functioning venue and studio complex. Available for rent by the day, it houses shorter run exhibitions generally, and has become known for its legendary Halloween party.


Onto the East, and staying on the theme of slowly making over former industrial spaces, there’s the Pipe Factory. The former tobacco factory has been host to studios and infrequent shows for the last few years, but has only recently constituted itself into a voluntary committee-run organisation. Its recent show Glasgow Anew, by the Settled in Glasgow Oral History Archive, made clear Pipe Factory's renewed community oriented interests. 

A few minutes away on foot, you'll find Crownpoint Studios. Having just expanded into a whole new block of its building, expect more shows in its dedicated gallery spaces. It’s also home to Visual Artists’ Unit, who make frequent use of their spacious corridor for members’ and group shows. Memorable recent exhibition concepts have included Ripperz (a show of artists’ bongs) and Toaty Wee Exhibition, with works have to be “teenie, tiny, toatie or wee”.

Nearby is the well-established David Dale Gallery. Like Crownpoint, they’re in the midst of the industrial estate that’s near Bridgeton station. Their regular schedule of exhibitions has a special emphasis on international emerging artists, and within their studios they run a regular residency programme for artists from outside Scotland. Nevertheless, expect to go ‘round the block a few times before finding David Dale, even with the help of Google Maps.

Heading up to Duke Street, there’s also Market Gallery. Less tucked away than Crownpoint and David Dale, Market’s on a main street near Bellgrove Station. A recent mover to the East, you'll find Telfer Gallery in the Barras. Telfer, like Pipe Factory, is run by a voluntary committee, and tend towards showcasing recent graduates from around the city. They’ve only been in their current location since March, after upgrading from their former third floor office space in the city centre.


Along with the East, the Southside is the fastest developing area for new arts spaces. Just across the river, 16 Nicholson Street entered into a new programme this month, with two emerging curators at the helm, after being awarded funds for important refurbishment work. Just around the corner is “occasional exhibition space” 42 Carlton Place, run by renowned painters Merlin James and Carol Rhodes. After a busy first half of 2016, it’s unlikely there will be another exhibition from them anytime soon. Nevertheless, they make sure that each presentation is worth the wait, and make a virtue of unearthing not so well-known 20th century painters.

Heading into the deeper South, next to Pollokshields East station, the Tramway is a huge cultural landmark for visual and performing arts. As well as visiting for its world-class exhibitions, there’s a cafe and excellent garden. Onto the next station on the South train from Central, Queenspark Railway Club is literally on the platform inside the station building. In their relatively small space, they’ve hosted consistently exciting and diverse shows and events over the last few years.

Up the stairs of the station and across the road to the front room of a flat on 493 Victoria Road, otherwise known as the gallery Celine. Led by four artists, they go between pairing emerging local talent with international, established names, mounting solo shows from artists from across the UK, and special Saturday and Sunday afternoon events.

Staying on the train, stay on a stop after Queens Park and you’ll get to Mount Florida Studios, just up and around the corner from the station. Just recently reaching its first birthday milestone, the small community of six studioholders regularly show and curate their dedicated gallery space. Keep an eye out too for the bi-monthly screening event held there, as well as their different pop-up events.


The west end's main art destination is the major international gallery The Common Guild. Having taken semi-permanent residence over three floors of the home of Douglas Gordon for the best part of a decade, they’re in a grand setting. Head here to see the biggest names in contemporary art from around the world, enjoy the library and have a cup of tea.

Down through the changing neighbourhood of Finnieston to Eastvale Estate, you'll find SWG3, with occasional exhibitions, as well as gigs, club nights and artists’ studios.

Next door, Voidoid Archive and The Poetry Club are spaces created by the longtime Glasgow-based artist Jim Lambie. He’s given them straight over to young artists and clubnight organisers for events and exhibitions. They’re just a little further out from the city, making for an odd sense of escapism, and often a messier afterparty. Either that, or it’s resolving to stay ‘til the end to split the cost of a taxi. They tend to link themselves together nicely, so that if there’s an opening in Voidoid, there’ll be a special afterparty night organised in The Poetry Club. See here also for the sweatiest queer and gay nights.

For all the details of Glasgow’s many art events and openings (along with all the news from Edinburgh and Dundee), read our weekly Art News column every Tuesday at