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.) The billiards tables have now been removed, and a large Studio created, providing wonderful light that was ideal for drawing and painting, as well as a Members' reading room. Naturally, the Studio 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 September - 1 October 2016

Portrait ExhibitionAn exhibition of portraits by members is exhibiting in the Club Room, while Alex Lopez exhibits Sculpture in the Craft Cabinets.

Exhibition 3 August - 3 September 2016

Festival exhibition by Jennifer McRae RSAJennifer McRae RSA is exhibiting in the Club Room, Ian Stuart Campbell will exhibit his Pen & Ink Drawings in the Dining Room, Fiona Maher has exhibits in the Geddes Garden while Natalie Adams (VAS Award winner) exhibits Jewelery in the Craft Cabinets.

Exhibition 6 July - 2 August 2016

Members' ExhibitionExhibition by Members of the Scottish Arts Club, Craft (Ceramics) by Gavin Burnett.


Exhibition 4 June - 2 July 2016

Miriam Vickers ExhibitionExhibition of work by Miriam Vickers (Winner of SAC SSA Award 2014), Craft (Jewellery) by Carla Edwards.


Exhibition 4 May - 4 June 2016

Heather Manson ExhibitionExhibition of work by Heather Manson (Winner of SAC RSA Award 2014), Craft (Sculpture) by Ratho Byres Forge (in the Club Room and Garden).


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
  • John Calder Reading 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 2016 is "Expensive Shit" by Adura Onashile, a Scottish Theatre Producers in association with Traverse Theatre.
    • The runner up was Sonder Theatre in association with Mermaids's "Delay Detach", at Greenside@Infirmary Street.

The Scottish Arts Club Theatre Award is supported by: Pickerings Gin

The Scottish Arts Club Bright Spark Award (for an emerging Scottish talent) was Julia Carstairs, Director of "Playback", a Stag Hart Production at Paradise in Augustines.

Full details of all the award winners, and the runners up, are available on the SAC Theatre Award microsite.

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.

Writers at SAC

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 2016 competition is now 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.

Workshops for Writers

The Scottish Arts Club also regularly offers two-day workshops for writers that are open to the public. The facilitators are always award-winning authors who have many years’ experience mentoring writers, including work with the Arvon Foundation. Look at our Writer’s Workshop page to find out about current and coming opportunities.

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