Scots art gallery closes for winter amid rising energy costs

The National Galleries of Scotland, Modern Two will close for the winter with study and studio rooms open by appointment.

Edinburgh art gallery Modern Two closes for winter amid rising energy costs and decreased visitor numbers iStock

A Scottish art gallery has closed its doors for the winter, amid rising costs of living expenses.

National Galleries of Scotland, Modern Two has shut with its studio set to become an appointment-only service.

Organisers say the decision had been made for some time due to low staffing and following the decrease in audience numbers since the Covid pandemic.

The rising cost of energy bills was also a factor in the decision to close.

Last month, National Galleries director-general Sir John Leighton told MSPs of the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee that the institution was ‘struggling to keep the lights on’.

The gallery’s Prints and Drawings Study Room, and Reading Room are open by appointment. Paolozzi’s studio will open by appointment from October 22.

Sir John said his organisation was facing a funding challenge ‘the like of which I have never before witnessed or, indeed, imagined’.

He said the priority was the coming year was ‘how we protect the collection, keep the lights on and doors open – and that is it’.

Modern Two was created in 1999 and is one of the two buildings to house the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

In a comment, National Galleries of Scotland said: “The culture sector was badly affected during the pandemic and, like so many national and local cultural organisations, National Galleries of Scotland is still in a period of recovery with visitor numbers and self-generated income still well below pre-COVID levels. On top of the lingering impact of the pandemic, we now have a cost of living crisis with rampant inflation and the prospect of dramatic increases in energy costs. 

“National Galleries of Scotland will of course work hard, with the support of Scottish Government, to do everything possible to maintain its ambitions and position as a flagship of Scottish culture in the years to come. 

“Modern Two closed as planned at the end of the Barbara Hepworth exhibition. We will be making announcements about the forthcoming exhibition programme for Modern Two in due course.”

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