With its combination of niche interests and pop art expressions, Quality Yard represents the modern-day identity of a gentrifying Leith.
The building is home to a few institutions that might make for an odd combination. One of them is the 1958-founded Scottish Mineral and Lapidary Club, the other is a series of four studios for leading Edinburgh street artists.
Some of these artists spearheaded an initiative for the 2018 Leith Festival that saw all walls that line the central court of this building, as well as its entrance and some outer walls, transformed with street art to create a full-surround experience of color.
The building itself is representative of the industrial architecture of traditionally working-class Leith. The original artwork of Quality Yard followed the style of a continuous mural, where color threads and elements connect the pieces of eight artists and collectives (Ursula Cheng, Colour Therapy Unit, Elph, Shona Hardie, Duncan Peace, PurshOne, Surface Noise and TrenchOne).
A new set of artwork was put up in time for the 2019 Edinburg Fringe and Leith Festival, in this case showcasing 11 female artists from Scotland and abroad. This iteration is more individualized, with the pieces appearing next to each other and unconnected. The only repeat artist from the 2018 version is Shona Hardie.
Know Before You Go
While the Quality Yard is publicly accessible during opening hours, the studios and Mineral Club are not. The Mineral Club has been open for visits by non-members during occasions like Open Door Days, while the artists’ studios will have sporadic exhibits and host events, specially during the Fringe and Leith Festivals.