Look beyond the world famous Tate Liverpool and established galleries such as the Bluecoat and Walker Art Gallery, and you will find a treasure trove of thriving independent galleries across the city.
Art in Liverpool editor Sinead Nunes takes us on a virtual tour of Liverpool, stopping off at some of the city’s top independent galleries and creative spaces.
Just a stone’s throw away from the waterfront is Liverpool’s up and coming creative hub, the Baltic Triangle. An eclectic mix of laid back eateries, mellow music venues and independent businesses, the area is rife with artistic talent, from graphic design studios to the offices of cultural magazines and the internationally renowned Liverpool Biennial.
The perfect setting for a gallery space, the Baltic Triangle boasts two to check off your list whilst you’re in town. Arena Studios and Gallery is tucked away in Elevator Building on Parliament Street; up a crooked stone staircase, you’ll find a cosy exhibition space, featuring an ever-changing programme of installation work from local artists.
Turning right out of the gallery, you'll stumble upon Camp and Furnace; concert venue, bar-restaurant and multi-disciplinary gallery in one, this space boasts a packed cultural calendar, from performance and interactive arts events, to exhibitions, workshops, gigs and much more.
Venturing into the city centre, cultural tourists will discover plenty more to whet their artistic appetite. Moments from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Liverpool, you’ll find some fantastic independent gallery spaces such as Fallout Factory (Dale Street), Royal Standard (Vauxhall Road) and the newly opened Cactus (just next door). There are also some interesting alternative gallery settings, where punters can uncover great art over a coffee and generous slice of homemade cake.
Taking a stroll down from the infamous St Luke's 'Bombed Out Church', the newest addition to the gallery-come-eatery clan is 81 Renshaw. Situated parallel to Liverpool's independent Ropewalks shopping district, this cafe offers a chilled out space to soak up the creations of aspiring local artists, whilst enjoying a varied menu of food and drink.
As you continue down Renshaw Street, you must pop in to see Felicity at Domino, which now also houses the Angel Cafe. Offering vegan and vegetarian delights, devilishly good desserts and an array of work from a range of artists often under-represented elsewhere in the city, Domino prides itself on its status as the true heart of local art.
For ever-changing exhibitions, acoustic guitar and piping hot drinks, look no further than Bold Street Coffee. Just five minutes from Domino, and serving "the best coffee in Liverpool", this independent establishment is well known for its artistic injection to the walls of the humble caffeine stop.
Mello Mello, just off Slater Street, is another intimate, multi-platform venue: at once a bar, cafe, independent performance space and destination meeting point for creative types, here you can enjoy a huge menu of food, including thoughtful vegetarian options, whilst soaking up the creativity spilling out from the resident artists in the studios upstairs. Headspace at the Egg Cafe offers a similar vibe, and with its reliable menu of home-made fare, is a local favourite.
In addition to the multitude of dedicated arts venues in the city centre, galleries are scattered across the suburbs. The ingenious Metal at Edge Hill train station, this year returns as host for the annual Liverpool Art Prize, and offers visitors a unique way to experience art as part of civic life. A multi-disciplinary residency space for artists from the UK and overseas, Metal's artistic philosophies reflect their creative use of an otherwise run of the mill transport link. Meanwhile Arts Hub 47, Merseysides only creative community co-op offers handmade crafts, ever-changing displays and a warm welcome at their weekly worksshops.
So wherever you find yourself in Liverpool, be it city centre or beyond, you will find a wealth of creativity tucked away, often in the most unexpected of places.
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