Observations: Art of staying calm in transit

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The Independent Culture

When you travel through an airport one thing you don't expect to see is art. But at Edinburgh airport's departure gate 12, that's exactly what you'll find. The Airport Gallery, which was set up just over two years ago by curator and artist Jan Riley, is the first of its kind in the UK. With frequently changing exhibitions, the artwork is a mix of paintings, drawings and original prints.

All the artists, including four new names on board for this show, are Scottish and include Damian Callan who does oil life studies (and whose painting The Ship Tavern is pictured below left), abstract painter Pat Kramek and Brian Evans who specialises in modern watercolours. Prize-winning artist Paul Bartlett uses mixed media to create a collage effect with his wildlife subjects. Focusing on birds, he often adds relevant magazine articles to the piece before painting over them and ripping for texture. And then there's Sara Meads, whose quirky harbour scenes are particularly popular with punters.

Riley came up with the idea when she wanted to open her own gallery but in a different way and so far, it's been a success. "I haven't had one negative response. At the beginning people rang up to say how much it cheered them up when they were passing through the airport. It's good entertainment for passengers when they're waiting for their flight." With another gallery set to open in Glasgow airport later this year, it might not be long before we all have the chance of a pre-flight culture hit.