MORE than 200 of the world's leading artists and directors, and celebrities including Val Kilmer and Ewan McGregor, have called for the reversal of a decision to close a leading Scottish gallery.

McGregor and Kilmer, who is an avid collector of sculpture, have signed an open letter urging the Royal Botanical Garden of Edinburgh to keep Inverleith House as an art gallery.

The letter, which i s published today, has been signed by almost a 'who's who' of Scottish, UK and International contemporary art, and contends that Inverleith House is "a national treasure and an international beacon of our culture."

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The Gardens (RBGE) shocked the art world last month by closing the House as a space for displaying contemporary art after 30 years as an exhibition site.

The new open letter, to Sir Muir Russell, chair of the RBGE and its board, has been signed by some of the most prominent names in the art world, including Turner Prize winners, collectors, commentators, actors and high profile art fans.

They include leading collector Anthony d'Offay, Douglas Gordon, Tracey Emin, and Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation.

Writers Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, and Ali Smith, and members of the Scottish band Travis, Fran Healy and Dougie Payne, have also added their voices to the call for Inverleith House to stay open as a gallery.

The RBGE have said that the House, in the centre of the popular gardens in Edinburgh, will now be turned into a more effective income-generating site.

Creative Scotland, the national arts funding body, gave £80,000 to the House in 2015 for several events, as well as a consultants report on how to make it "sustainable" as an art gallery until 2021.

Inverleith House's gallery activity had been supported over the years by Scottish Arts Council and Creative Scotland but it was recently turned down for a Regular Funding package.

The letter states: “while we accept that the future of Inverleith House falls within the urisdiction of RBGE, we feel that its loss is of international cultural significance.

"In light of wide spread public dismay, we ask that the decision to bring to an end 30 years of contemporary art programming at Inverleith House be reopened for debate at the next

meeting of the Board of Trustees in December of 2016 and that the wider community be given an opportunity to participate.

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"We also urge the Board of Trustees of RBGE to work in cooperation with Creative Scotland to seek ways of securing the long-term future of Inverleith House as a contemporary art gallery, a future that reflects its 30 years of excellence in visual art and botanical programming.

"Inverleith House is not just a contemporary art gallery; it is a national treasure and an international beacon of our culture."

It concludes: "Closing the doors of this cultural asset with no plans for the future of the building is unthinkable and leaves us all diminished."

Other signatories to the letter include Richard Wright, Adrian Wiszniewski, the leading US artist Ed Ruscha, director Andrew Nairne, gallerist Victoria Miro, Jim Lambie, Anish Kapoor, Martin Boyce and Alison Watt, among many others.

A statement from the RBGE, said: “The intention is very much that we intend to retain our reputation as an art venue across the board, be it for botanical art, performance, photography, sculpture, and contemporary art. We welcome the opportunity to discuss with Creative Scotland the options to achieve this.”

The RBGE said the letter “shows the high regard in which Inverleith House has been held.”