The Inverleith House at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland, has reopened as an art gallery after it announced that it would close its doors due to budget cuts in October of last year.
Simon Milne, the garden’s Regius Keeper, told Tim Cornwall of the Art Newspaper that it will likely continue to mount two exhibitions per year with a “strong contemporary element.”
Following a public outcry when the gardens shared its plans to shutter its historic house, citing the “inevitable financial risks attached to running a high-profile gallery,” arts journalist and theater critic Joyce McMillan launched a petition to save the space. It was signed by more than ten thousand people.
According to Milne, the gallery’s operating costs amount to $207,000 a year, and the gardens were only attracting about 2 percent of the 900,000 visitors it estimated would visit. As a result, the gallery established an advisory committee that will oversee a new “integrated” program of science, horticulture, and the arts at the garden, with a “core platform for key exhibitions.”
The Inverleith House’s first exhibition after the restructuring, which opened during the Edinburgh Art Festival, is “Plant Scenery of the World,” featuring contemporary artworks with a botanical theme alongside works from the garden’s collection.