It’s easy to see why Brighton has the reputation as a quirky, compact ‘London-on-sea’. It is a vibrant melting pot of cultures and the independent digital and creative economies are booming, with more and more Londoners making the move down south. Culture vultures are seriously well catered for in this seaside city with its plethora of annual arts festivals, not to mention its theatres, music venues and art galleries. However, where the big smoke excels in internationally celebrated spaces and exhibitions, Brighton is unquestionably smashing it in the business of small, independent galleries showcasing the very best local artists. So, if you are thinking of an artsy weekend staycation or day trip, here are our picks of the bunch…
Specialising in contemporary British paintings, Cameron Contemporary Art is situated in ‘Hove, actually’ and showcases both established and up-and-coming artists. While a relatively new gallery, the husband and wife team previously exhibited across the UK before taking on the permanent home in 2013. Each exhibition of paintings is thoughtfully curated with complementary sculptures, ceramics and jewellery. Expect to see a real mix of styles – from traditional to abstract and digital works – here with something to really excite every budget.
ONCA is a truly unique gallery and vibrant creative space that tells stories of environmental and social change. The works at ONCA are created and exhibited with the intention of inspiring positive action in the face of changing landscapes; however there’s no ‘preachy’ vibe, it’s more about exploring new ideas in a visually stimulating environment. As well as hosting exhibitions, they also put on performances and community outreach events to start these dialogues with new audiences.
FABRICA is an artist-led space and Brighton’s epicentre for Contemporary Art. Based in a beautiful former Regency church, it’s a must-visit for people interested in large-scale installations and site-responsive pieces of art. It hosts 3 major shows per year and often commissions artists in residence as well as a number of community projects throughout the year. Their current winter season includes Queer Dreams Season, a mini-series of queer films.
Art5 has been a leading institution in the Brighton art scene for over 11 years, representing a diverse selection of national and international artists. The North Laines gallery is one of Sussex’s leading contemporary art galleries and the affordable prices means that it’s one of the best places to go if you’re looking to start or add to your collection. Their aim is to make enjoying art a fuss-free and friendly experience and the fresh, inspiring collection of works they exhibit makes a visit to Art5 a real pleasure.
Found in the artistic triangle of the North Laines, Gallery40 is a small boutique gallery that has a frequently changing smartly-curated exhibition programme of local, new and emerging artists. The work they feature spans multiple disciplines from jewellery to photography and interactive installations. This gallery is definitely one to check out if you want to see the work of the growing number of artists who live and work in Brighton.
For more information about art galleries in Brighton, head to visitbrighton.com