Scottish Arts Club

The Social Hub of the Arts in Scotland

About the Scottish Arts Club

The Scottish Arts Club has been the social hub for the Arts in Scotland since its founding in 1872.

Our professional members include painters and sculptors, movie-makers and musicians, planners, playwrights and poets, novelists and journalists, architects and designers, dancers and diplomats. Lay members range from academics, accountants and administrators, to dentists and doctors, lawyers and librarians, and scientists and students, all with an interest in the Arts.

The Scottish Arts Club was founded by a group of artists in 1872 and moved to Rutland Square in 1895.

The Club has made few changes to the building. In 1895, in place of the three bedrooms that were on the top floor, one very large L-shaped room was created for two billiards tables. The ceiling was raised, and two large roof lights were put in. (These windows were blacked out during WWII.) In 1997, one of the billiards tables was removed, and a large Studio created, providing wonderful light that was ideal for drawing and painting. Naturally, this is where the Club holds life and portrait painting, along with talks, film screenings, and concerts. The space is also used for music and play rehearsals and meetings.

An active gallery

Our annual programme of exhibitions, open to the public, showcases the best of Scottish and International artists.

Our three gallery spaces, from the intimate Geddes Gallery to the imposing Club Room Gallery, provide a range of environments to suit the artist.

Recent artists to exhibit in the Club Room Gallery include:

  • George Donald RSA RSW
  • James H Fairgrieve RSA RSW
  • George Gilbert RSW
  • Margaretann Bennett RSW
  • Victoria Crowe OBE FRSE RSA

Exhibition 7 October - 7 November 2015

Jim Dunbar RGI, RWS, RSW - Recent WorkExhibition of recent paintings by Jim Dunbar, Craft by Julie Allison, with Barbara Mackie exhibiting in the Geddes Gallery.

Exhibition 11 November - 6 January 2016

Members' ExhibitionExhibition of work by Members, Craft by Lorraine Miller, with Mike Shepley, DA, exhibiting in the Geddes Gallery.

A varied programme of talks, concerts, and events

Creation, Education and Entertainment

  • Exhibitions, with Private View parties for Members;
  • Lectures on myriad subjects;
  • Book launches where Members can meet authors;
  • Music recitals and concerts, where Members can meet and talk with musicians, after the performance.

We also hold regular, practical art gatherings for Members, including a Life Class and a Writers' group.

A range of spaces to suit your occasion

An oasis of calm, minutes from Princess Street, miles from stress.

We have a number of attractive spaces to suit your needs.

The entrance to the Scottish Arts Club is on the ground floor of a Georgian town house and leads to the Club's six public rooms, located on three floors.

  • Peploe Dining Room, ground floor
  • McTaggart Room, ground floor
  • Club Room, first floor
  • Bar, first floor
  • Billiards Room, second floor
  • Studio, second floor

There is a stair lift between ground and first floor and from the first to the second floor.

While the Club has no accommodation, preferential rates are available from a selection of nearby hotels. See list.

Practical Support for the Arts in Scotland

The Scottish Arts Club supports a number of awards aimed at recognising artistic talent and bringing it to the attention of a wider audience.

Awards are:

For Drama

  • Scottish Arts Club Theatre Award: the "Flying Artichoke" Award
    • The winner for 2015 is "Swallow" by Stef Smith, a Traverse Theatre production, directed by Orla O'Loughlin.
    • The runners up were Grid Iron Theatre Company's "Light Boxes", directed and adapted by Finn den Hertog, at Summerhall; and
    • "The Gospel according to Jesus Queen of Heaven", written and performed by Jo Clifford and directed by Susan Wosfold, also at Summerhall.
The Club is most grateful to Pickering’s Gin for their support of this year's Awards.

For Visual Arts

  • RSA Open
  • RSA Annual
  • RSW Annual
  • SSA Annual
  • VAS Annual

Winners are entitled to two years' free membership of the Club and an exhibition during the period, usually in the second year of their free membership. If the Club is unable to offer them an exhibition slot, their free membership can be extended for another year and the exhibition staged in that year. The RSA Award winners are chosen by the RSA without Club involvement. The RSW, SSA, VAS awards are chosen by representatives of the Scottish Arts Club, including the Art Convenor and other SAC members invited by the Arts Convenor. They are assisted on the day by a representative of the SSA/RSW/VAS.

SAC Short Story Competition

The Scottish Arts Club has an annual short story competition that is open to all writers worldwide aged over 16 years. We are delighted that celebrated author Alexander McCall Smith has again agreed to be the chairman of the judging panel. Those familiar with McCall Smith’s work will know that the historic Scottish Arts Club has often featured in his popular 44 Scotland Street novels.

The competition is open to all writers worldwide aged over 16 years, published and unpublished. Stories entered for the competition should be 1,500 words or less and can be on any topic. The stories do not have to be associated with Scotland. Competition entries must not have been previously broadcast on radio, read aloud as part of a commercial performance or published in any format, including on a web site that is open to the public.

Keep up to date with the progress of the competition, read previous winners or find out how to enter on the Short Story page.

Ruth Howell, SAC Short Story Award Winner 2015, with Sara McBean

Ruth Howell (left), whose short story, "The Tale of Penelope Cupcake", won the 2015 SAC Short Story Award with Sara McBean, the SAC Short Story Award 2015 organiser.
Photo: George McBean

Contact us

Scottish Arts Club
24 Rutland Square

+44 (0)131 229 8157



Tuesday - Saturday: 10.30am - 11pm


Tuesday - Saturday: 10.30am - 2pm