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Renowned for its lush valleys and beautiful shores, Wales is also home to some of the United Kingdom‘s leading contemporary art galleries. From independent artist led spaces to the country’s National Art Museum, here are ten of the best galleries dedicated to promoting Welsh artistic identity and forming international and cultural exchanges.
The National Museum of Cardiff is not only home to a wealth of archaeology, natural history, and geology, but also the National Museum of Art. The museum’s collection branches down various historic avenues with its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist pieces, as well as European Old Master paintings. With its new spaces devoted to contemporary art, the museum demonstrates the ways in which Welsh art and craft is placed within a larger, more international context. The National Museum of Art is a must when visiting Cardiff due to its collection of historic and contemporary, national and international artworks.
Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP, +44 (0)292039 7951
This former school, saved by art enthusiasts and the Arts Council of Wales, is now one of the country’s leading contemporary art galleries. Within this unique setting a network of artists supports and encourages Welsh artistic innovation through their exhibitions, while involving the local community through a thriving education programme. In addition, Oriel Myrddin celebrates its Welsh heritage by spearheading craft influenced by Welsh landscapes.
Church Lane, Carmarthen, SA31 1LH, +44 (0)1267 222 775
Dedicated to contemporary arts, Mission Gallery is at the forefront of the emerging arts scene in Wales due to its successful integration of the public and its diverse programming. The gallery embraces visual arts, applied arts and craft from Wales and beyond, and through the curatorial decisions and exhibitions it tests the boundaries of contemporary art. Beginning life as a church, the building was transformed in 1977 by determined volunteers, and is now an established non-profit gallery.
Gloucester Place, Maritime Quarter, Swansea, SA1 1TY, +44 (0)1792 652016
g39 is an established contemporary gallery that delves into the relationships between artistic, curatorial and social practice in an attempt to expand all three disciplines. The artist-run gallery has evolved to fill a warehouse in Cardiff centre, a space which accommodates between six and eight exhibitions annually. It is an experimental mixing pot of national and international, established and emerging artists, creating a dynamic artistic and cultural exchange. g39’s innovative approach has been, and will likely continue to be, instrumental in the development of Cardiff’s art scene.
Oxford St, Cardiff, CF24 3DT, +44 (0)29 2047 3633
Beginning life as a pop-up gallery, gallery/ten now has a permanent residency on Windsor Place in the heart of Cardiff. Balanced between contemporary design, fine art, print, ceramic and 3D work, the diversity of exhibitions attract a wide range of collectors varying in ages, backgrounds and artistic knowledge. This commercial space showcases the work of over twenty artists and designers with Welsh ties, and exhibitions alternate between solo and group presentations.
First Floor, 23 Windsor Place, Cardiff, CF10 3BY, +44 (0)29 2034 5978
Since 1978, Ffotogallery has been supporting and nurturing creative talent in photography and lens-based media. The gallery, based in Cardiff, runs extensive education and international programmes intended to develop Wales’ artistic output, challenge the discipline’s boundaries and form international links. The gallery’s emphasis on cross-cultural exchange sees itself in creative collaborations with Germany, Lithuania and France, partnerships which serve to strengthen the artistic identity of Wales. Ffotogallery’s education programme accommodates all levels, offering courses from basic photography and documentary photography, through to creative web design.
Plymouth Road, Penarth, CF64 3DH, +44 (0)29 2070 8870
As an artist-run space, Elysium Gallery‘s vision involves international exposure for Welsh artists, whilst remaining committed to the local art scene. The gallery’s all encompassing nature sees it delve into different artistic arenas such as visual and performance art. Their archive of past artistic happenings includes DISRUPTION!; a series of performances through Swansea, where artists would interrupt the routine of an unassuming passer-by. Through their progressive exhibitions and performances, Elysium is transforming the art scene in Wales by making it more accessible to the public through its experimental nature and social projects.
16 College Street, Swansea, SA1 5BH, +44 (0)7980 925 449
The established arts venue Chapter has been a focal point of the Welsh art scene for over forty years, attracting in excess of 800,000 visitors annually. The venue delivers live performances, art exhibitions and film screenings to a wide audience, fostering an interdisciplinary approach. Chapter places great emphasis on the social aspect of the venue and encourages the merging of community and art through various initiatives, workshops, classes, talks and their blossoming community garden. Chapter plays an important role in supporting emerging and established artists on a local, national and international level, in addition to embracing the social benefits of contemporary artforms.
Market Road, Canton, Cardiff, CF5 1QE, +44 (0)29 2030 4400
MOSTYN‘s beautiful six exhibition spaces are housed in a recently renovated 1901 building onto which a modern extension was added, creating a unique space where old meets new. The scale of these galleries make it possible for MOSTYN to house large artworks in addition to smaller pieces and video projections. Without a permanent collection, the gallery showcases dynamic contemporary exhibitions which change on a seasonal basis and merge Welsh art with international contemporary works.
12 Vaughan Street, Llandudno, LL30 1AB, +44 (0)1492 879 201
Part of Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth Arts Centre has an outstanding reputation for promoting and producing a mixture of artforms including drama, dance, music, visual arts, film, new media and community arts. The Arts Centre exhibition spaces include a gallery dedicated to contemporary painting, sculpture, installations and new media, a separate gallery for exhibiting prints and photographic piece, and the Ceramics Gallery with its comprehensive ceramics collection. In addition, the Café Gallery showcases smaller works of art for visitors to enjoy over a beverage.
Aberystwyth University, Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3DE, +44 (0)1970 623232