About PAI

Paisley Art Institute

Paisley Art Institute (PAI) has been at the forefront of promoting and supporting Scottish artists’ work since 1876.
John Walter (detail), Guest Artist 131st Annual PAI Exhibition
John Walter (detail), Guest Artist 131st Annual PAI Exhibition

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 run by artists and art lovers for artists and art lovers.

Click aboard this website for an insight into the ties that bind PAI’s rich cultural heritage to an exciting future.