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Ground breaking moment at the City Observatory

26 October 2016

It’s all change here on Calton Hill next week as building contractors arrive to begin the transformation of the City Observatory into a new home for contemporary art. To celebrate the start of the work we invited pupils from our partner schools Abbeyhill and Leith Walk to start the digging on site, with a little help from Collective Director Kate Gray, artist Mark Bleakley, and Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture Convenor for the City of Edinburgh Council.

Edinburgh-based Mark Bleakley is part of our 2016 Satellites programme for emerging artists in Scotland. Abbeyhill and Leith Walk Primary schools are part of our ongoing learning programme and will be closely involved with the new site over the next few years.

When the work is completed late in 2017 the City Observatory will be fully accessible to the public for the first time in history. As one of Edinburgh’s most iconic locations, the site will become a landmark destination for visitors and a space where national and international artists can exhibit their work and be inspired.

The £4m restoration project, undertaken in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council, will include conservation of the Observatory’s original 19th century William Henry Playfair designs, its original telescopes and astronomical instruments and its grounds; the creation of a subterranean gallery, and the building of a new restaurant with enviable views across the city.

Collective is in the final stage of fundraising for the restoration. Partners already supporting the project include: Heritage Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, CEC, Edinburgh World Heritage, The Wolfson Foundation, Garfield Weston, Craignish Trust, William Grant Foundation, Sylvia Waddilove Foundation UK, WREN, Architectural Heritage Trust as well as other trusts and foundations and individual donors.

Fundraising is ongoing. You can help Collective by supporting the redevelopment project or our artistic programme through:

  • Making a private donation
  • Providing corporate sponsorship

You can donate through our Buy-A-Brick scheme via JustGiving or text COLL38 £ followed by the amount you would like to donate to 70070 – you can give £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 (donations sent via text will usually incur your standard text message fee). If you would like to help, please email lori@collectivegallery.net