Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow is a thriving, gutsy kind of place with a reputation for live music, creative arts and innovation. In recent years, street art has become an intrinsic part of the city’s cultural scene. A growing number of murals offer social commentary, thought-provoking imagery or simply pay homage to great Glaswegians such as comedian Billy Connolly. This half-day privately guided walking tour takes in the best of the city’s murals, explores its backstreets, and reveals the impetus behind the local street art.
Your half-day tour begins outside the Gallery of Modern Art, where you meet your guide, Tom. He’ll take you through Glasgow’s streets over the next four hours, pointing out works by Glasgow’s well-known street artists such as Smug and Rogue-One. You’ll also see street art from up-and-coming artists emerging onto the scene. Across the city, you’ll find a rich variety of work covering diverse themes and locations, from street corners and gable walls to dilapidated buildings and temporary hoardings.
The street-art scene took off here after Glasgow was awarded European Capital of Culture in 1990. New forms of expression were encouraged, and small-scale murals began to appear around the city’s grand public buildings and handsome Victorian terraces, and the down-at-heel former industrial areas and 60s tower blocks.
The results were so successful that a growing trend emerged for street art to liven up the city’s grittiest corners. By 2014, street art had such a public following that Glasgow City Council established a fund to encourage some of the local emerging street artists to transform the city in an innovative way.
Today’s street art inhabits some most unexpected places, and you’re unlikely to discover the finest examples without a guide. Tom also offers an intriguing insight into the development of street art in the city. He’ll explain how an art form that was once seen as subversive has become so mainstream it reaches a larger and broader audience than many of Glasgow’s highly-regarded museums and galleries. Through him, you get to feel the essence of the city’s vitality, creativity and character.
You’ll learn about the origins and artistry of the various artworks, as well as Glasgow’s social history. If you’re a keen photographer, Tom will also be able to give you advice about framing the best and most interesting compositions.
There will be plenty of time to stop and take photographs and grab a drink or snack as you go — the tour is entirely flexible. You finish in central Glasgow, where Tom can offer suggestions for further places to visit or a good spot for lunch or dinner.