Classic, colourful, and more than a little bit quirky, is it any wonder that Brighton is Britain’s most-loved seaside town? While fish and chips, waterfront pubs, and that world-famous pier might attract the tourists in their droves, Brighton is also a haven for creatives.
With an impressive art scene, Brighton plays hosts to a plethora of galleries and exhibitions, where artists and art-lovers can discover famous works and hidden treasures. Here, we explore some of the most renowned art galleries in Brighton, as well as some lesser-known but still equally as fascinating spots to get your creative fix.
Housed in the forever-iconic Brighton Pavilion, the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery exhibits a varied collection of pieces from all over the world – so it’s a great place to start on your art tour of the city.
Aside from its fascinating exhibits ranging from the millennia-aged relics of ancient Egypt and the fine arts of the Renaissance era to 20th century and postmodern designs, the gallery also plays host to a plethora of community-based events. Why not try your hand at a Tai Chi taster session? Or embark on a guided tour of some of the museum’s most captivating collections.
Located a stone’s throw away from The Lanes Brighton, this gallery is the perfect place to ponder some artwork in between perusing the area’s many shops and boutiques.
Ready to see some artist debuts? Located just a few minutes’ walk from that famous seafront, Sallis Benny is part of the University of Brighton. Here you’ll discover a unique collection of creative spaces, including a gallery showcasing student coursework exhibitions across the year. Oh, and don’t forget to book your spot at the ever-popular Graduate Degree Shows. These artist extravaganzas are not to be missed and take place in May and June each year.
Ordinary exhibitions are great, but what if you want to see some art on a larger scale? Well, Brighton has you covered with its unique FABRICA gallery.
FABRICA is a creative space that’s based in the iconic former Regency church, which plays host to a range of intriguing collections. A lot of the work featured has been commissioned by FABRICA, so it’s site-responsive to the exhibition space. It’s a thriving hub of creativity – no matter when you choose to visit – with several activities and community projects throughout the year.
Progressive, eco-conscious, and always looking to the next way to change the world, ONCA is a gallery with a left-wing mindset at its heart. ONCA stands for the One Network for Conservation and the Arts and is a great place for creative types and art lovers to meet up, chat, and contemplate the art on display. There’s always something new to see here, and the exhibitions usually showcase themes of political activism, so it’s well worth a visit if you’re searching for a creative space to really engage with.
Seafront location? Check. Work from local artists? Check. Opportunity to take some art home with you? Check. Bellis is a quintessentially Brighton art gallery that really does have it all.
The gallery specialises in work from the local area, exhibiting work from over 20 artists including Miranda Swift, Harriet Butler, and Ulrika Jarls, to name just a few. Discover funky, colourful Butler sketches, or take it right back to nature with some of Ulrika’s unique bone china pieces. Whatever your style, Bellis has something to capture your creativity.
Why not indulge in a spot of retail therapy during your visit? Bellis has a unique shop where you can get your hands on some beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces. Yes, the prices might be a little higher than elsewhere, but you can rest assured your purchase will be supporting the local community, as well as being able to take home something no-one else has.
On the hunt for the obscure? Craving something cutting edge? Ink_d has you covered. This independently-run gallery showcases some of the most unique and exciting art the southeast has to offer, exhibiting an eclectic collection of prints and paintings, as well as sculptures and ceramics with an emphasis on thinking outside the box.
The gallery hosts eight delightfully strange exhibitions a year, with past themes including nature and providence.
Another seafront gallery for you now. Two Kats and a Cow is a little archway exhibition that makes up for what it lacks in size with a plethora of eye-catching oil paintings, ceramics, and screen prints. A great place to wind down after an afternoon on the pier, this creative space is owned by three local artists – Kathryn Matthews, Katty McMurray, and John Marshall – and is open on weekends.
Two Kats and a Cow is now Brighton’s oldest independent fine arts gallery and hosts an annual show each spring. So be sure to buy your tickets early to avoid missing out.
So there you have it, seven of our favourite creative spots to see some of the most fascinating and exciting art this seaside town has to offer. But Brighton’s artistic flair isn’t just limited to galleries and exhibitions, take a stroll through the city, and you’ll soon come across some of the colourful street art that’s dotted around. See if you can spot the kissing policemen, the music mural, and the giant blue dragon.
Fact: Banksy’s famous Kissing Policeman street art was once on a wall near the train station. The original was sold, but you can still see the replica in the exact same spot.
Why not make a weekend of it? Jurys Inn Brighton City Centre puts you right in the middle of it all, so you can peruse all the creativity this eclectic city has to offer. And with 234 stylish guestrooms, you can rest assured you’ll feel rested and revived after your stay.
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