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Bristol’s Hidden Gems: Commercial Art Galleries

16 March 2018 | Charlie Kenber

With blockbuster galleries such as the Arnolfini and RWA, it can be easy to overlook Bristol’s lesser-known art destinations. To help you explore a little further off the beaten track, we’ve put together this list of commercial galleries where, for the right price, you can even take something home! There are many more to discover, but here are the best places to start…

Flux
This gallery is nestled opposite the Bristol Royal Infirmary: although not technically on Christmas Steps, Flux and others consider themselves part of that community, and they’ve certainly got the craft credentials required. Flux shows work from a range of local artists and makers, and even boasts a jewellery-making studio in the basement! So get stuck in for a wide array of paintings, furnishings and jewellery and maybe even sign up for a silversmith course. There’s plenty on offer for many budgets, and they even do commissions.


Image Credit: Flux via instagram

Flux is at 18 Upper Maudlin St, BS2 8DJ.

Spike Island
Based in an old tea warehouse close to Bristol’s historic harbourfront, Spike Island is the place to go for all your cutting edge artistic needs. Combining a series of studios with a gallery and exhibition space, Spike Island is a hub for contemporary artists, and plays an active part in training the next generation through its links with UWE’s Fine Art BA. With an international reputation and the occasional chance to take part in workshops or open studios events, it’s well worth stopping by.


Image Credit: Spike Island via Facebook

Spike Island is at 133 Cumberland Road, BS1 6UX.

Centrespace
In one of the less obvious city centre locations you’ll find Centrespace, another gallery and studio combination run as a co-op by a group of artists. Volunteer-led, the gallery is keen to support all levels of emerging local creatives, and you’ll find a range of exhibitions featuring professional through to student artists. It can be a bit difficult to find but is well worth your effort. With a bold, modern space, and exhibitions only tending to run for a week it’s a venue that rewards many repeat visits.


Image Credit: Centrespace

Centrespace is at 6 Leonard Lane, BS1 1EA.

Clifton Fine Art
Now to the higher-end of the contemporary art market with this prestigious gallery in the heart of the Christmas Steps Arts Quarter. Displaying the work of established artists from across the South West, the gallery is always sure to have an inspiring array of work on display. It’s also worth popping in to Great White Art – a contemporary street art gallery run by the same owners and just a few doors down.


Image Credit: Clifton Fine Art via Facebook

Clifton Fine Art is at 12 Perry Road, BS1 5BG and Great White Art is at 8 Perry Road, BS1 5BQ.

Hangfire
This urban art gallery couldn’t be more different. Specialising in graffiti art and selling an impressive collection of printed works, the gallery puts on a range of exhibitions year round showcasing both emerging and established artists. From its North Street base (known by locals as the heart of the city’s graffiti art scene) it works hard to build greater awareness of the work going on all around us. So head over, pick up a t-shirt, print or even a can of spray paint and try your hand! It’s a relatively new addition, but already making its own mark and helping to increase access to the city’s street art scene.


Image Credit: Hangfire

Hangfire is at 49 North St, BS3 1EN.

Beaux Arts Bath
If you don’t mind making a bit of an excursion, head over to stunning Bath and explore the delights of this top-notch gallery. Paired with Beaux Arts in London, it is the longest established commercial gallery in Bath, and focuses on major twentieth century painters, ceramicists, and sculptors. That said they’re also keen to promote the next great thing in contemporary art, and dedicate half of their annual exhibitions to new talent. Expect to see work from the much-renowned St Ives group, as well as the likes of Marry Fedden, Josef Herman, Anna Gillespie, Takeshi Yasuda and John Maltby. All within a gorgeous listed Georgian building – delightful!


'Men in Hats' - Jane Muir. Image Credit: Beaux Arts Bath

Beaux Arts Bath is at 12-13 York St, Bath BA1 1NG.
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