Plymouth’s Art & Culture: Celebrating Creativity Along Sutton Harbour

Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour is renowned for its rich maritime heritage—but perhaps lesser known for its arts, culture and many a gallery. Many notable artists are associated with Plymouth from the likes of Sir Joshua Reynolds to Beryl Cook and Robert Lenkiewicz. There is plenty of creativity to be celebrated along the water’s edge with painted murals, creative workshops, and independent art galleries throughout the Barbican. Plymouth itself has plenty of art galleries, museums and more to explore.

Independent Galleries and Shops

Independent Art Gallery

Southside Street and the surrounding Barbican is home to a whole host of independent galleries and art retailers.

Among some interesting antique shops, it is here you will find Michael Wood Fine Art which was founded in 1967. The collection includes contemporary art as well as 19th and 20th century paintings, watercolours, original prints, sculptures, ceramics and works of art. Also, Michael Wood Fine Art is one of the longest established dealers in the world for Robert Oscar Lenkiewicz’s work with a large number on display.

Back over to the main strip of Southside Street, you will find Kaya Gallery. Offering a selection of classic and contemporary artwork by both local and national artists, the gallery is full of inspiring art, photography, and sculptures. Work is regularly updated so it’s a great gallery to pop into now and again to find something new.

Something Different

Husband and wife duo Greg and Di Millwood have been selling art and more on the Barbican for many years at the  .  Here you can find Greg’s own popular seascape and beach scene art pieces perfect for the Ocean City. As well as original art, you can also find Di’s driftwood sculptures, crafts, and homemade soaps. It’s the perfect stop for a new wall addition or gifts.

Just off of Southside Street, you will find White Lane which is home to a few art galleries.   are a family-run business of 40 years, owned by Sue Wills who exhibits her own beautiful pieces. Sue also does art commissions of portraiture, pet portraiture, landscapes, and abstracts. Plus, they have plenty of gifts, souvenirs and occasionally host art workshops and life drawing sessions.

The neighbouring   is home to artist Glyn White’s work which consists of surf art, coastal and moorland landscapes. As well as original works, you can also find prints and greeting cards of the art.

45 Southside is a gallery that specialises in ceramics, glass, and metalwork by artists local to Devon and Cornwall. The space opened in 2009 and offers a mixed display which changes regularly throughout the year. During the Spring and Autumn seasons, part of the gallery is turned into a temporary exhibition space. This is an opportunity to see works by established artists as well as up and coming talent.

Glass!! is Devon’s only dedicated contemporary glass gallery offering an array of pieces to suit every budget. One of the longest established independent businesses on the Barbican, the gallery has unique, standalone pieces. Owner Ian also makes glass wall art available via commission. Locals look forward to the Christmas window display every year which is always full of gorgeous, glass pieces.

Art in Plymouth

As well as all of the art you can find around Sutton Harbour and the Barbican, there is plenty more creativity to celebrate in Plymouth.

The Box museum and art gallery often change its exhibitions to bring new and exciting pieces for visitors to view—and it is free to enter. Check back on their website every few months to find out what will be on offer next. KARST Art Gallery can be found in the Millbay area of Plymouth. Based in an iconic industrial building, this contemporary, artist-led art space often hosts exhibitions, screenings, music events, and performances.

The University of Plymouth’s Art Institute also hosts exhibitions in the Levinsky Gallery featuring exhibitions from across the world. All exhibitions are free and often change throughout the year so it’s worth checking back. Similarly, Arts University Plymouth have their own gallery, MIRROR as well as the Plymouth Arts Cinema showing arthouse and independent movies you may otherwise be unable to see in the big cinemas. They are open to everyone.

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