In 1974 the Scottish writer and playwright, Tom McGrath, founded The Third Eye Centre in Glasgow. Described by the Guardian as ‘a shrine to the avant garde', the centre hosted visiting artists and performers such as Allen Ginsberg, Whoopi Goldberg, John Byrne, Edwin Morgan and Kathy Acker, as well as quickly becoming the focus for Glasgow’s counter culture.
When it consolidated its activities in the 1980s it presented some of the key exhibitions by the new Glasgow painters such as Stephen Campbell, Ken Currie and Peter Howson and was the home of the National Review of Live Art.
With the demise of The Third Eye Centre at the turn of the 1990s, the Centre for Contemporary Arts established in its place, opening in 1992. CCA continued the tradition of commissioning and presenting work by Scottish based artists while also presenting new work by key international figures. Working across all art forms, the centre has sustained its determination to be a forum for ideas as well as art and events, providing an intellectual hub for the city.
In 1996, the organisation was awarded a lottery grant to redevelop and expand the building complex and in 2001 the newly refurbished CCA opened to the public. Now housing a spectrum of cultural tenants as well as a café/restaurant, bar and cinema, 350 Sauchiehall Street entered a new era.
In 2006, the organisation itself underwent a profound cultural shift, deciding to pursue a more open curatorial policy - an ‘open source’ approach - which encouraged artists and organisations to propose their own programmes to sit alongside those curated by CCA. Today, that policy has produced a livelier and more varied programme that offers a new kind of accessibility to audiences, drawing on the spirit of The Third Eye Centre and the early history of the CCA.
We are currently working on the Archive section of our website which, when complete, will feature exhibitions dating right back to the early days of The Third Eye Centre.