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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Soak Up Art and Architecture in Glasgow


3. What to Do

SWG3 provides studio and exhibition space for over 120 artists.  

Discover the next Martin Boyce at the Briggait, a former Victorian fish market given new life by Wasps, a Scottish charity that transforms abandoned buildings into artists’ workspaces. The facility holds guided tours of its 45 studios on the last Friday of every month, but if you call in advance and ask nicely, a private showing can be arranged within 24 hours. Stick around afterward to watch the evening trapeze and circus classes offered in the main hall.

Explore arts incubator SWG3, which is tucked below a series of disused arches in an industrial estate on the West End. Home to emerging artists working across all mediums, the warehouse regularly hosts micro-festivals, deep-house parties, and indie fashion shows. If you’re visiting during the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (April 20–May 7), check out #Unravel, a sound installation dreamt up by musician Aidan Moffat and art-pop collective FOUND that encourages audience participation.

Buy pop-surrealist prints and lowbrow photography for as little as $40 at Recoat, the only gallery in Scotland promoting street art. Last year, they launched Team Recoat, a collective of Scottish artists who use the space as a studio during three-week residency programs. If inspiration strikes, you can also purchase spray paint here, as well as graffiti magazines and limited-edition hand-screen-printed T-shirts. For contrast, head to the nearby Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (free), home to a world-class collection of art and artifacts.

Arrive late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds at the Riverside Museum (free), a sleeker version of the city’s old transportation museum. There are more than 3,000 items exhibited—including a wall of old cars and a hanging velodrome—but the real attraction is the building itself, a steel-and-zing-clad structure with a zigzag roof designed by Zaha Hadid.

Published on Apr 13, 2012 as a web exclusive.

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