About PAI

Paisley Art Institute

Paisley Art Institute (PAI) has been at the forefront of promoting and supporting Scottish artists’ work since 1876.
The Government School of Design, Gilmour Street, Paisley
The Government School of Design, Gilmour Street, Paisley

With its roots in Paisley’s rich industrial heritage as a textile town, its annual exhibition is now Scotland’s longest running showcase for artists’ work. PAI offers a year-round forum for artists and art lovers alike.

The roots of Paisley Art Institute stretch back to an era when industrialists in the Renfrewshire mill town knew that for their businesses to grow and thrive, Paisley needed highly educated artists and designers.

The Paisley Government School of Art and Design was set up in 1846 with Paisley’s Free Museum and Library following in its wake in 1871.

Philanthropy and a liberal mindset on the part of patrons and artists alike subsequently led to the establishment of Paisley Art Institute in 1876.

Its early Constitution set out its stall with this declaration:

“The objects of the Institute shall be the encouragement of Art Studies and the promotion of a taste for Art, by such means as Classes, Conversazioni, Lectures, Exhibitions and the Purchase of Works of Art.”

Paisley Art Institute’s Collection, established in the early 20th century, contains work by leading Scottish and European artists. It is jewel in Paisley’s cultural crown.

Today, the original aims of Paisley Art Institute remain firmly in place. This lively artists’ collective is still run by artists and art lovers and continues to stage an annual large-scale public exhibition.