CCA reopens after School of Art fire

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Credit: Creative Commons

Sam Doak
Reporter

The Centre for Contemporary Arts reopened last Saturday after months of uncertainty around the future of the space. The venue was forced to close its doors this June as a result of a fire that gutted the nearby Macintosh building. Following the fire, many businesses – the CCA included – were required to close due to concerns that the listed building could partially collapse. Many Garnethill residents were similarly evacuated from their homes following the fire as the Council set up an exclusion zone around the damaged structure.

Following the fire, the CCA was reportedly expected to be allowed to reopen on September 14. They were later informed by the Council, however, that there was still work needed before the area could be deemed safe for the public. The Council was unable to give the venue a date at which this work would likely be completed. This presented a challenge to the venue as it was unable to plan upcoming events without knowledge of when it could reopen to the public.

On top of this, the venue struggled to stay financially afloat as it was deprived of any commercial income for months. It was reported as late as September 6 that the venue was still waiting on a £20,000 grant from the Council’s Fire Recovery Fund and was subsisting largely in part due to a grant from Creative Scotland. Because of this, Frances McKee, the CCAs director, described the business as being on a “financial knife edge”, leading to speculation that the venue could close permanently.

The CCA’s communication manager expressed thanks to a number of venues that provided support during the forced closure, saying: “We had so much support, from so many venues in the city, from the Lighthouse to the Seamore Neighbourhood Cinema. Kinning Park Complex also took events. Waterstones were happy to help as well.

“We just want to say a huge thanks to everyone that supported us throughout the closure. It was absolutely amazing.”

The CCA’s announcement that it would reopen was welcomed by many. Aside from its importance as a prominent space for exhibitions and events, the venue employs 35 people directly with another 45 people employed in the building’s cafe. A number of freelancers ranging from graphic designers to technicians also frequently depend on the CCA for work.

The CCAs events program will resume on Tuesday, October 23 with a free exhibition by visual artist Jonas Staal. Teenage Fanclub have announced they will be playing a sold out show in the space this Friday. Until then the building, its bookshop, and cafe will be open to the public and operate as normal.