Home to the birthplace of Charles Dickens and the Historic Dockyards, Portsmouth is a thriving city on the south coast of England, full of culture and history. Along with its seaside neighbour Southsea, the city hosts some unique attractions for culture lovers and buzzing artists alike.
Situated in the luxurious Gunwharf Quays, in close proximity to the harbour and the Spinnaker Tower,Aspex Galleryis the leading contemporary art gallery on Portsea Island. The creative hub dedicates itself to supporting emerging artists, and engages the public by hosting regular group exhibitions and participation events. Discover the range of mediums displayed, such as photography, painting and sculpture. Every two years, they hold a biennial open exhibition called EMERGENCY , which is always highly anticipated. Aspex Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday.
Transformed in 2014, the city’s defence architecture in Old Portsmouth, Point Battery and Barracks, is now home to thriving and creative studios for artists, designers and makers. Working daily within the 13 rented studio spaces are individuals with varied areas of expertise creating and selling their products – from ReFold’s handmade textiles and Fay George’s pottery to Laura Bennett’s jewellery. Upon your visit to The Hotwalls Studiosyou will have the opportunity to watch them at work and purchase their pieces. Opening times can be dependent on artists.
Think arts, quirky crafts, food and live music all in one place by the seaside. The ever growing Victorious Festival is held on Southsea Common and Castle Field during August bank holiday weekend. With your ticket you gain access to a pre-announced lineup of music acts, artist market stalls and free entry into some of Southsea’s attractions – for example the D-Day museum – to soak up some history.
Likewise, Mayfly combines art and music in a one day pop-up festival on the first May bank holiday, running from midday until about 8pm. Entry is free and there is a full programme of live music and poetry lined up, as well as prints, paintings and photographs on sale.
Take a wander down Palmerston Road on the first Saturday and Sunday of every month, where you will find the pedestrianised shopping precinct is dedicated to Love Southseastreet markets. The event aims to support artists with stalls full of their authentic illustrations, jewellery, artwork and gifts. You can meet the stall owners and buy their work, or if you are an artist – why not book a pitch on Makers Row for yourself? The event runs from 9–5pm on Saturday and 10–4pm on Sunday.
The Square Tower, located close to the The Hotwalls Studios in Old Portsmouth, is an arts and crafts venue that is home to Crafts in the Tower – a group of artists, designers and craftspeople. This community showcase their work every third Sunday of the month. Entrance to the event is free, and you’ll be able to explore two floors featuring handmade arts, crafts and a pop-up vintage tearoom. Crafts in the Tower usually runs from 11am until 4pm.