Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Inverleith House modern art gallery 'not being closed'

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Media captionMorag Kinniburgh has been following the debate over Inverleith House

The custodians of a popular modern art gallery in Edinburgh have denied they plan its permanent closure.

Inverleith House, which is part of the Royal Botanic Garden, has been closed as a dedicated gallery.

Trustees argued it was not a core part of the garden's work and only attracted one in fifty of those visiting the garden.

But they have told the BBC that it will stage art exhibitions in future as well as hosting functions and events.

Since the closure in October, leading figures in the art world have been calling for reassurance about its future.

Art critic Neil Cooper said: "It was the first home of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

"It provides a vital function in a unique space that does not exist anywhere else in the world."

Simon Milne is Regius Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden.

He insists the garden had to concentrate on its core function involving the conservation of plants.

He said: "The Trustees decided that they could no longer afford to take the financial risk of dedicating this wonderful gallery to just one area of art, contemporary art.

"They wanted to broaden out our art programme across the garden.

"There's no question of Inverleith House closing. It will very much remain part of our exhibition and events programme. It's a question of how we do art, not if we do art."

The Trustees believe high profile exhibitions and events could attract visitors in larger numbers and have the potential to generate revenue.

Neil Cooper is unimpressed.

"Suggesting it's got to wash its face financially - that's the language of barrow boys flogging bruised fruit," he said.

"It is not the language of Trustees entrusted with looking after a public asset."

Image copyright Graeme Yuill
Image caption Inverleith House has been associated with modern art exhibitions

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