The François Duesberg Museum
, with its world-renowned clock collection, isn’t the only house of culture drawing art enthusiasts to Mons, Belgium
. It boasts numerous other original galleries, which are marked with a heartwarming sense of openness and a willingness to experiment. Here are our picks for the ones you shouldn’t miss.
The old slaughterhouse in Mons is hardly the place you’d expect to find a thriving cultural scene, yet the city has skilfully transformed its old abattoirs into the ideal industrial setting for temporary exhibitions. A whitewashed hall of 70 meters long and 10 meters wide with ample natural light provides the perfect canvas for the modern art that’s showcased here. The only things reminding us of the building’s bloody past are the names of its other spaces. L’Etable (The Stable) is reserved for the digital arts while le Frigo (The Fridge) houses the World Crafts Council of the Belgian French-speaking community.
Rue de la Trouille 17, Mons, Belgium
Galerie du Pistolet d’Or
The “Gallery of the Golden Gun” has a knack for taking you back in time with its fondness for 19th and 20th century artworks. Paintings by local artists get special treatment by owner Véronique Lebailly, as does everything in the Impressionist and Pop Art traditions. The collection, with its many names from the greater Mons region, testifies to a profound knowledge and deep understanding of the creative undercurrents that were popular in the area in the recent past.
Rue du Hautbois 35, Mons, Belgium
Art Gallery, Library
Open 24/7, Mons’ experimental micro art gallery can be seen from the streets at any given time. A curious glass case was installed at the front of Mons’ public library, just off the city’s pleasant Grand Place, to present a challenge to adventurous artists. Makers are invited to work within and be inspired by the boundaries of the tiny space, which is a mere seven cubic meters in volume (hence its name). Any visual artist, from sculptor to photographer, can claim the gallery by coming up with a marvellous idea.
Rue de la Seuwe 23, Mons, Belgium
A project to match Mons’ overall congenial spirit, THANKSgalerie combines a good drink with artistic stimulation and an open spirit. Both established and new artists, for example from the local art academy ARTS2, get to display innovative works in the dramatic setting of an old, rust-colored Gothic chapel. The mood is usually dynamic and casual thanks to the bar serving many specialty beers and a nice wine selection.
Rue des Telliers 5, Mons, Belgium
THANKSgalerie aims for a smooth combination of experiencing art while socializing | © Andy Craps, courtesy of THANKSgalerie
Also incorporating a sense of inclusiveness in their mission statement is TRE-A Galerie. Welcoming regulars and new visitors every day with the door wide open, the private gallery invites everyone to take a look at their collection of contemporary art, sometimes exploring today’s movements through an examination of older pieces. Soon guests will also be invited upstairs for a look at a collection focusing solely on the 20th century.
Rue des Soeurs Grises 10, Mons, Belgium