Centre for Contemporary Arts

Coordinates: 55°51′57″N 4°15′54″W / 55.865864°N 4.264997°W / 55.865864; -4.264997
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Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA)
Location350 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow, Scotland
DirectorFrancis McKee
CuratorSabrina Henry

The Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) is an arts centre in Glasgow, Scotland. Its programme includes contemporary art exhibitions, cinema, live music, book launches, festivals, spoken word and performance. The CCA also commissions new work from artists.


The CCA began as the Third Eye Centre in 1974, founded as a multi-media arts centre by Tom McGrath.[1] Notable performers at the Third Eye Centre included Allen Ginsberg, Whoopi Goldberg, John Byrne, Billy Connolly, Edwin Morgan, Kathy Acker,[2] and Alan Davie.[3]

The Third Eye Centre included jazz and experimental music in its arts programming of the 1970s and '80s, seeing performances from Derek Bailey, Julius Eastman, Brotherhood of Breath and Keith Tippett.[4] The Guardian newspaper described the Third Eye Centre as "a shrine to the avant garde."[5][6]

In the 1980s, the Third Eye Centre played an important role in the rise of the new Glasgow painters Steven Campbell, Ken Currie and Peter Howson. It also hosted shows by Susan Hiller, Sam Ainsley, Damien Hirst and Sophie Calle. The Third Eye Centre was also the home of the National Review of Live Art. A number of music albums were recorded there including Ivor Cutler's Life in a Scotch Sitting Room Vol II in 1978, and the centre also hosted the launch event for Alasdair Gray's Lanark in 1981.[7]

The CCA was established in 1992.[8][7][9]

The period of 1999-2001 saw the redevelopment of the building. The CCA took over a neighbouring villa and a building on Scott Street, doubling the size of the arts centre.[10]

In 2014, the CCA was temporarily closed after a ruinous fire at the nearby Glasgow School of Art but reopened in October 2018[11][12][13]

In 2023, the central Saramago café and social space closed after industrial action supported by Industrial Workers of the World.[14][15]

Location and Building[edit]

The CCA is situated on Sauchiehall Street and houses a number of cultural tenants,[16][17] including the cafe space, independent shops Welcome Home and Aye-Aye Books,[18][19][20] and a flat for visiting artists.[21]

The CCA is housed in the Grecian Chambers, a category A listed building, designed by Alexander 'Greek' Thomson in 1867 to 1868 and substantially renovated for its present use by Page & Park in 1998.[22]


The CCA operates an open-source programming policy where organizations and individuals are given space in the building to direct their own events. In 2019-20, the CCA had 256 programme partners across 1,304 events and 28 festivals.[23]

The CCA curates six contemporary art exhibitions per year in its gallery space. The building is also home to Intermedia Gallery to showcase emerging artists. The CCA offers a programme of artist residencies in the Creative Lab and internationally.[23]

In 2015, the CCA launched a public engagement programme.[24]

The CCA is home to several other arts and culture organizations including LUX Scotland and the Scottish Writers Centre.[23]


  1. ^ "Tom McGrath". The Herald. 1 May 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Head of Glasgow arts institution to leave amid troubled few months for venue". HeraldScotland. 10 July 2023.
  3. ^ "CCA at 40: a look back at the arts base that opened as the Third Eye Centre". Glasgow Times. 27 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Cafe OTO → Third Eye Live, Wednesday 25 January 2023, 8pm". www.cafeoto.co.uk.
  5. ^ Fisher, Mark (30 April 2009). "Tom McGrath" – via The Guardian.
  6. ^ "Letters: Tom McGrath". 10 May 2009 – via The Guardian.
  7. ^ a b "Archive memories mark 40 years of Third Eye Centre". HeraldScotland. 1 May 2015.
  8. ^ "History". CCA Glasgow.
  9. ^ "Face to Face: Francis McKee, director of Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow". HeraldScotland. 3 August 2015.
  10. ^ "The Third Eye Centre evolves into the CCA". Glasgow Times. 28 April 2015.
  11. ^ Sharratt, Chris (17 July 2018). "Glasgow After the Fire: What Has Been the Impact on the Wider Arts Community?".
  12. ^ Brooks, Libby; correspondent, Libby Brooks Scotland (14 September 2018). "Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Arts brought to brink by fire" – via The Guardian.
  13. ^ Paterson, Lewis (23 October 2018). "CCA reopens after School of Art fire". The Glasgow Guardian.
  14. ^ "Glasgow arts centre restaurant closed amid bitter staff dispute". HeraldScotland. 23 March 2023.
  15. ^ "Scots art centre bar closes amid bitter trade union dispute and protests". The National. 21 April 2023.
  16. ^ Bruce, Keith (10 July 2009). "Planting seeds of change to push doors wide open". The Herald. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  17. ^ Glasgow, CCA. "Cultural Tenants | About CCA | CCA". cca-glasgow.com. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Literary fighters: Glasgow's last surviving independent book shops".
  19. ^ Simpson, Craig (11 April 2023). "'Inspiring' King Charles biography prompts bookshop boycott" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  20. ^ "Tom's Glasgow Mag #10". Tom’s Glasgow Mag.
  21. ^ "CCA opens it doors to reach around the world". Glasgow Times. 29 April 2015.
  22. ^ "DSA Building/Design Report: Grecian Buildings". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  23. ^ a b c "What We Do". CCA Glasgow.
  24. ^ "Public Engagement". CCA Glasgow.

External links[edit]

55°51′57″N 4°15′54″W / 55.865864°N 4.264997°W / 55.865864; -4.264997