Hollywood stars get behind Inverleith House

In response to the news that the Royal Botanical Garden of Edinburgh are to close Inverleith House, international stars such as Ewan McGregor and Val Kilmer come out in support of the art gallery

Feature by The Skinny | 11 Nov 2016

The news last month that the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh (RBGE) intends to close Inverleith House as a gallery space has sent shock waves through Scotland’s art community, and this shock is expressed in an impassioned open letter urging RBGE to reconsider their decision.

“We feel that [Inverleith House]'s loss is of international cultural significance,” goes the letter. “In light of widespread 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.”

More than 200 leading arts figures from Scotland and further afield have signed the letter. Turner Prize winners like Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Douglas Gordon, Martin Boyce and Jeremy Deller have lent their support, as have the directors of New York’s Guggenheim Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Trainspotting star Ewan McGregor also signed the letter, as did Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and other leading cultural figures like Ian Rankin and Ali Smith. There were some less expected signees, however. American filmmaker Harmony Korine, the director of Gummo and Spring Breakers, lends his support, as does Hollywood star Val Kilmer, who’s listed on the letter as “actor and art patron”.

As the Dark Knight in Batman Forever, Kilmer vanquished the Riddler and Two Face, while in the Star Wars prequels McGregor battled the dark force of the Sith. Can their combined celebrity might help save this much-loved art gallery too?

The open letter closes by stating that “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.”

We heartily agree. The petition to prevent the closure of Inverleith House can be found at 38degrees.org.uk, which has at present 8,851 signatures. Give your support and help save this vital arts institution.