IT IS AN image missing from our city streets at the moment – a group of excited children queue up for a Glasgow cinema on a Saturday afternoon.

Joan Eardley’s painting, made in 1949 when the celebrated artist was living and working in Townhead, can still spark joy – which is the aim of a new campaign launched today on International Museums Day.

Dr Jo Meacock, Curator of British Art with Glasgow Museums, said: “We may not be able to go out to the cinema with friends at the moment, but Joan Eardley’s painting Glasgow Kids lets us be part of the thrill of the experience.

“Today is actually Eardley’s birthday – she was born on 18 May 1921 – and so it seems very apt to celebrate the occasion by sharing one of her paintings.”

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The painting, which can normally be seen in the Looking at Art gallery in Kelvingrove was probably painted in Townhead, which Eardley described as “the living part of Glasgow where the people are.”

Dr Meacock added: “Glasgow at the time was known as Cinema City because there were more cinemas per head of population than anywhere else outside of America.

“In Townhead there were three: Hamilton Regal, Odeon and La Scala. We don’t know which is depicted here, all we see is the neon lights reflected in the faces of the children, full of life and energy as they jostle with each other while they wait.”

Since lockdown Glasgow Museums has been embracing the challenge of operating in a radically different way, but it has continued to engage audiences online through its wider city campaign #glasgowlifegoeson.

Other curators have shared their favourite items from Glasgow collections as part of the #MuseumsSparkJoy campaign.

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For Anna Lehr, Learning and Access Curator for schools, it’s Andy Warhol’s soup can painting, and for John Messner, Curator of Transport and Technology, it’s the locomotive collection at Riverside’s Museum of Transport.

“Every morning on the way to my desk at Riverside, I wander past the Highland Railway ‘Jones Goods’ 103 locomotive,” he said.

“It was built in 1894 and at the time was reckoned to be the most powerful class of locomotive in the world. It needed to be as its work took it over the vast moors and hills of northern Scotland.

“It has been on display in Glasgow since 1966 and is one of the most recognisable objects in Riverside.

“It is also a movie star, appearing in the 1965 film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines.”