4th August 2006 at 01:00
Festival of British Youth Orchestras, August 12-September 3, at Central Hall, Tollcross, Edinburgh and RSAMD, GlasgowNational Association of Youth Orchestras, tel 0131 221, tel 0141 332 5057

This year's culture feast includes a great variety of exhibitions gathered under the umbrella of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

A golden saddle and a silk embroidered tent used by the sultan of Turkey feature in Beyond the Palace Walls, one of the major shows. This draws on the stunning collections of Islamic art from the State Hermitage Museum (formerly the Winter Palace) in St Petersburg.

The 18th-century tent forms the centrepiece at the Royal Museum and themed displays include objects illustrating the Five Pillars of Islam. A full programme of events covers storytelling and crafts.

At the City Art Centre, iconic 19th century posters for the Moulin Rouge, as well as commercial work produced by artists such as Bonnard and Vuillard, can be seen in Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art Nouveau Poster.

At the same gallery, Anne Redpath and the Edinburgh School explores the work of one of the 20th century's most highly regarded Scottish painters in relation to Gillies, MacTaggart and other contemporaries.

Both shows are complemented by activity areas where visitors can create their own art. Lautrec and Redpath workshops are also being organised for primary and secondary schools between August 20 and September 7.

There are two exhibitions on Scottish photographers. At the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Being There showcases photojournalist Harry Benson's documentary-style portraits of celebrities such as John Kennedy, Frank Sinatra and the Beatles.

At the City Art Centre, Frozen features more than 200 photographs by Albert Watson, including portraits of Johnny Depp, David Bowie and Jack Nicholson.

The story of how an American artist's visit to Edinburgh helped to create one of the most famous - and valuable - wildlife books in the world, is told in an exhibition at the National Library of Scotland. Birds of a Feather; Audubon's Adventures in Edinburgh charts the production of Birds of America from 1826.

The exhibition includes mock-ups of the Edinburgh drawing room where the wildlife artist John James Audubon met Sir Walter Scott and the city print works where the first 10 plates of his famous book were engraved.

The Royal Scottish Academy has an exhibition on Australian-born sculptor Ron Mueck, who is famous for his sensational life-like human figures and obsession with detail, right down to the pores in the skin and hairs on the body. His figures are never life size; they are much bigger or much smaller. This exhibition includes his giant sculpture of a woman in bed, which startled visitors to a gallery in Paris last year.

The Travelling Gallery will be parked outside the City Art Centre for a week from August 26 before it takes off for a three-month tour of schools and community venues. Its new exhibition, Jaggy-edge, concentrates on collage and how it is being used by artists to produce pictures, animations and sculpture. The exhibition programme includes talks, workshops and an education pack.

The prize-winning work of pupils who entered the National Galleries of Scotland's 2006 art competition for schools can be seen in the Clore education centre at the National Gallery until August 31 before going on tour.

At the Museum of Childhood, an exhibition on child soldiers creates a stark contrast to the toys and games on display. Organised by Amnesty International, Lost Childhood features photographs and documentary film of some of the estimated 300,000 child soldiers in African countries. An education pack is being produced and school workshops will be run in conjunction with the exhibition.

Edinburgh Art Festival, July 27-September'Beyond the Palace Walls', until November 5, free for schools which pre-book, tel 0131 247 422Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art Nouveau Poster', 'Anne Redpath and the Edinburgh School', 'Frozen', until October 22, free for schools which pre-book, tel 0131 529 3993'Being There', August 4-January 7, free for schools which pre-book, tel 0131 624 6200'Birds of a Feather', until Octber 15, tel 0131 623 3700'Ron Mueck', August 5-October 1, free for schools which pre-book, tel 0131 624 6200'Jaggy-edge', August 26-September 1, tel 0131 529 393036822006 National Galleries of Scotland Art Competition for Schools, until August 31, tel 0131 624 6200'Lost Childhood', August 12-September 10, tel 0131 529 4142

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