The Virginia Gallery - Adults-only LGBT art in Glasgow

Why adults-only policy provides flexibility that most spaces don’t have

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Little Shop of Horrors

Having an adults-only policy gives The Virginia Gallery a certain flexibility that most spaces don’t have. Co-owner Drew Harvey Biggleston tells The List why this is vital for LGBT art

If you’ve walked down Virginia Street recently, you might have seen Luke and Jack, an exotic 18+ adult boutique. What you might not have noticed is The Virginia Gallery, the art space nestled below which is fast gaining a rep for supporting erotic and LGBT art.

Co-owner Drew Harvey Bigglestone explains: ‘The shop opened in April last year and the gallery started as a pop-up gallery that December when artist Ivor Sexton approached us about using the space.’

Opening properly as a gallery in January this year, Bigglestone and his partner Ian Diamond has been reaching out to new and established artists whose work may not be accepted elsewhere.

‘It’s the only space I can think of which consistently shows LGBT art in Glasgow. Ivor Sexton was aware that he was censoring his own work because certain galleries would never display paintings like that. Previously, we’ve hosted an exhibition focusing on male to female transgenders in Brazil and I know other galleries refused to show that work,’ Bigglestone explains.

‘People say we are pushing boundaries but we’re really just trying to create an environment to get new art out there.’

Current exhibition #MAN is a group show of multi-media artwork focussing on masculinity and the man-made. There are also life-drawing classes for bears and butches on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In the new year, the gallery will host a Parisienne photography exhibition, two burlesque charity nights and another Ivor Sexton solo show, plus potential boylesque, drag king and drag queen nights. ‘We’ve also got a special exhibition for the Queen’s jubilee, 60 artworks for her 60 years,’ Bigglestone says. ‘There will be ones looking reverently at the Queen and some more irreverent ones, playing with the word queen itself …’

The Virginia Gallery is open Tue-Sat, 11am-6pm. Visit thevirginiagallery.co.uk for more information on times of classes and exhibition openings.

Life Drawing for Bears & Butches (and Beaus & Belles)

Semi-tutored life drawing classes for those who like their models with a little more brawn or bulk than the average. Open to all levels of artistic ability.

Burlesque for Beginners

Learn the teasing secrets of burlesque with Dolly Tartan, including everything from stocking removal to tassel twirling. Includes cupcake and a glass of fizz. Boylesque classes are also available.

Patchwork 6: The French Connection

Exhibition of photographs by French and international artists, on tour after an acclaimed opening in Paris.

The Virginia Gallery

45 Virginia Street, Glasgow, G1 1TS

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