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September 17, 2018

Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts Program Postponed as School of Art Recovery Continues

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND—As the Glasgow School of Art continues work on the Mackintosh Library following the devastating June 15 fire, the neighboring Centre for Contemporary Arts may be forced to close because of the lack of access within a city-imposed cordon around the library. A limited access cordon around the Mackintosh Library has been in place since the fire, and, following weeks of protests, many residents and businesses were only able to return to their properties the end of August.

A statement on the Glasgow School of Art website notes that though the eight-week program of securing high level building elements is nearly complete and much of the cordon has been lifted, but the CCA’s main fire exits face the southwest corner of the Mackintosh Library, which requires further work to allow safe access. “The Glasgow School of Art has a close relationship with the CCA,” said Glasgow School of Art director Professor Tom Inns. “We have been working with them to identify solutions to the key issue of their fire exits on Scott Street, and to see what can be done to enable managed access. Along with Glasgow City Council, we had hoped that access in mid-September might have been possible but inspections of the building following final removal of existing scaffolding on the southwest corner confirmed that additional work would need to be undertaken here.”

CCA director Francis McKee told the British Broadcasting Corporation, “For the entire time, most of the building has been outside the cordon. That lack of access, when it could have been—through common sense—given, has meant we’ve lost the ceiling of a gallery and the artwork in the gallery. That didn’t have to happen.” The Centre for Contemporary Arts and its 366 partner organizations have been advised by the city council that their operations may resume October 14.

Also speaking to the BBC, Muriel Gray, author and member of the Glasgow School of Art board of trustees, said the school’s board of governors is intent on returning the library to its original use and not a museum as had been speculated. The £100 million estimate for renovations was not official as the school has not been able to fully assess the damage, but refurbishment could take up to ten years. “The debate now is how we fit in to the whole tragedy that’s happened to the entire Garnethill community and the Sauchiehall Street refurbishing and how we do that as a working art school.”

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