A St Mawes Gallery Guide to The Famous Cornwall Art Scene

The Cornwall art scene is famous and known for its incredible offering all over the world. With galleries aplenty, local artists and exhibitions round every corner and all the scenic inspiration you could possibly ask for – it is the UK destination for holiday-makers who love to revel in all things creative.


Since the mid 1800s, Cornwall has drawn the artist’s eye and been at the heart of many a masterpiece, depicting our stunningly beautiful coastlines, quaint towns and harbours rich in history and happy, intimate scenes of families and loved ones enjoying all that the Cornish Peninsulas have to offer. Today, you’ll still find a painter nestled away in every corner and an abundance of local artist’s work on display, demonstrating that the same inspiration many before have been moved by is very much alive and well in 2018.


As well as the pull of the clean sea air and the laid-back way of life that the Cornish are so well known for, the thriving Cornwall art scene is partly what brought us to move here and open our very own St Mawes Gallery in the Roseland Peninsula.


We love being able to offer a place to showcase our favourite works created by extraordinarily talented local artists, with more traditional styles on offer from the likes of Nicholas St John Rosse and Gerry Hillman, to contemporary coastal works by Melanie McDonald and Alvaro Tamarit and we hope that you will love viewing them!

cornwall art scene

If you’re looking to make your trip to Cornwall an arty one, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to things to see and do. Here are some of our favourite ‘must-see’ and must-do’ destinations and activities on the Cornwall art scene, not too far from St Mawes Gallery…

Newlyn Art Gallery

Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange is home to a wide variety of exhibitions and programmes, displaying works by regional, national and international contemporary artists.

Having been open and showing art for more than 120, the building itself is something worth seeing and its reputation for deepening and broadening the publics awareness and engagement in art is well deserved.

As an extra bonus, well behaved dogs are welcome too! So you can even bring your furry family members along.


Tate St Ives

When you think of art galleries, the Tate group is sure to come to mind. Synonymous with artistic history and education, we’re very lucky to have an absolutely spectacular ‘branch’ not too far away, in St Ives.

Holding a national collection of art from the year 1500 to the present day, there’s a style for everyone to enjoy. There are also plenty of learning programmes for visitors to get involved in, such as the kids ‘Make A Wave’ painting class, teaching youngsters to be inspired by the surrounding nature in Cornwall and interviews to really get to know the artists.

cornwall art scene

Inspirational Art Breaks

Fancy combining your visit to Cornwall with learning new, artistic skills? Well now you can! With inspirational art breaks on offer providing personal tutoring from internationally recognised Cornish-based artists, artists of all ability levels are invited to come along for a 4 or 5 day break, involving trips to stunning locations and guidance on how to capture those amazing views on canvas or paper.


Barbara Hepworth Museum

If you love sculpture, you have to visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Scuplture Gardens. Upon its re-opening in March 2018 after some exciting renovations, you can visit this world-renowned location and soak up the beauty of Barbara Hepworth’s bronze, stone and wood abstract sculptures in magical surroundings.

cornwall art scene

St Ives School of Painting

Arrive a novice and leave a pro! There’s a course for everyone at the St Ives School of Painting, from life drawing to mixed-media painting. Discover how to unlock your creativity as many a Cornish artist has done before you, with some of the regions most talented names.

Providing studios overlooking the ocean, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more inspirational setting for learning a new skill.


The Thrown Gauntlet Festival

Cornwall is the place to be if you love a good festival! The Thrown Gauntlet is new to the list, but already a favourite on the Cornwall art scene, with 2018 being it’s second year, but it’s already made a name for itself as one of the best mixed arts events around.


Port Eliot Festival

For a really exciting weekend, it’s got to be the Port Eliot Festival – 26th to the 29th July 2018. Attracting friends and families from all over the world, including a fair few celebrities, you’re going to love the incredible art exhibitions, workshops, music, comedy and outdoor adventures!