No matter what part of the country you're visiting, there's lots to fire your imagination. Lofty galleries packed with historic canvases in South Wales, buzzing community art spaces in West Wales and Mid Wales and exciting experiments with textiles and ceramics in North Wales.
Many art galleries in Wales have busy cafés and shops selling unique artworks too.
Art galleries in North Wales
The Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy
The Royal Cambrian Academy of Art was established in 1881 when a group of British artists swapped the Grand Tour of Europe for the dramatic landscape of North Wales. They never looked back. These days there are over 100 artist members, whose work is exhibited and sold in this spacious gallery, inside a former chapel.
Ty Pawb, Wrexham
Housed in a sleek black architect-designed community hub, Ty Pawb is one of the top venues for contemporary visual and applied arts in Wales. The focus is contemporary drawing, print and graphic-based work. There are interesting events too, as well as a buzzing food court and market featuring an eclectic array of local craftspeople selling their work.
Oriel MOSTYN, Llandudno
Behind an impressive Edwardian facade in the seaside town of Llandudno, the original turn of the century galleries at MOSTYN now sit alongside light and airy modern spaces. The six rooms exhibit the best in international contemporary art and craft, showing artists and makers from Wales and beyond. Exhibitions change seasonally and vary from large-scale thematic shows to small site-specific projects.
Ruthin Craft Centre, Ruthin
Since its founding in the 1980s, the Ruthin has built a reputation as one of the UK's best venues for contemporary craft. The sleek, stone and zinc complex of galleries nestles around an airy courtyard and café. Swirling ceramics, multi-hued glasswork, intricate carvings, embroidery, fashion, sculpture and more all jostle for your attention. You may even see artists at work in the studios.
Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Pwllheli
This dramatic Gothic mansion was rescued from ruin by local artist Gwyneth ap Tomos and her husband, Dafydd in the early 1970s. In 1984 they finally opened a gallery here realising their dream of providing a much-needed platform for Welsh artists. Inside Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw you'll find a remarkable Welsh porcelain collection and exhibitions of contemporary Welsh art works. There's also an outdoor theatre, café and accommodation just a stone's throw from the sea and the Wales Coast Path.
Read more: Discover the artists in Wales
Art Galleries in Mid Wales
MOMA Wales comprises four airy gallery spaces alongside The Tabernacle, a former Wesleyan chapel which opened as a centre for the performing arts in 1986. The permanent collection features works from 1900 onwards with the emphasis on artists living or working in Wales. It comprises over 400 works - painting, sculpture, drawing and more.
Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
Located in the centre of the university campus, Aberystwyth Arts Centre is a hub for all things artistic with cinema, dance and drama on offer along with a mix of smaller exhibition spaces, a ceramics exhibition and an impressive contemporary gallery. After you've enjoyed the sculpture, painting and ceramics there's a nice café for a bite to eat and a cuppa too.
Y Gaer, Brecon
Inside the imposing columns and porticos of the Shire Hall at Brecon, Y Gaer has a peaceful gallery space displaying artworks from a permanent collection featuring works by local artists and works featuring the Brecknockshire area. Alongside there's a spectacular light-filled atrium and the beautifully landscaped Captain’s Walk Gardens.
Llantarnam Grange Art Centre, Cwmbran
Llantarnam Grange is Cwmbran's centre for Contemporary Art and Craft and it occupies a handsome former farmhouse. What were once the billiard room, kitchen and dining hall now play host to an exciting programme of exhibitions covering ceramics, glass, jewellery, sculpture and textiles. The permanent collection by many fine contemporary artists occupies the meeting rooms, which can also be viewed when not in use.
Oriel Davies, Newtown
Named after Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, two of the greatest art benefactors in Wales, the three lofty brick, steel and glass galleries here are set in the heart of a green leafy park. There are 10 exhibitions a year at Oriel Davies ranging from masterpieces from national collections to work by established artists. You'll also see more experimental pieces by emerging young artists in the gallery's Test Bed space. There's also a café and shop where artworks are for sale.
Art Galleries in West Wales
Mission Gallery, Swansea
Tucked away in Swansea's Maritime Quarter, the small gallery space inside this former chapel for sailors is intimate and calming. It's the ideal place for exhibiting cutting edge art by local artists and contemporary makers. The changing programme at Mission features installation, video and film, sculpture, photography and craft and design.
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea
A partner of London’s Tate gallery, there's lots to see at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, including works by old masters, porcelain and Swansea china, along with painting and sculpture by 20th Century greats like Hepworth, Nicholson, Nash and Welsh artists such as Ceri Richards, Gwen John and Augustus John. They're on display in the imposing classic Italian-style gallery building. The connected modern wing has regular large exhibitions of contemporary art.
Oriel Myrddin, Carmarthen
Carmarthenshire's centre for contemporary visual art, craft and design Oriel Myrddin, is housed in a listed Victorian building in the centre of Carmarthen. The gallery offers a culturally diverse programme of visual and applied arts exhibitions featuring works by local artists and from elsewhere in Wales and the UK. Artworks from the best regional and national artists are on sale in the shop.
Oriel Mwldan, Cardigan
Mwldan is a buzzing arts and film complex in the centre of Cardigan. The gallery space here curates eight exhibitions a year across a range of media, often working in conjunction with other galleries across Wales. Exhibitions tend to feature Welsh artists or artists who have a strong affinity with Wales.
Oriel y Parc Gallery, St Davids
Located in St Davids, the Gallery in the Park is a unique collaboration between the Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. The result is an inspiring combination of visitor centre and exhibition space. It features a regularly changing collection of works from the national collections that celebrate the Pembrokeshire sea and landscapes. Many of the works are by Pembrokeshire artists and craftspeople.
Read more: Discover our seven National Museums
Art galleries in South Wales
G39 is an artist-run organisation and creative community space in Cardiff which aims to bring inspiring and innovative contemporary art work by local artists to new audiences. What you'll see here is eclectic, exciting and sometimes challenging. This is art at its most vibrant and exciting in a simple space with no pretensions.
The National Photographic Agency of Wales organises exhibitions by photographers from across the country in this former Sunday School building in Cathays in Cardiff. The gallery spaces feel a little like an installation in themselves with the exposed ironwork roof supports and pillars and a renovated Victorian atrium that floods the top floor with light.
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
There's all sorts going on at Chapter. An international centre for contemporary arts and culture, and an important community hub, it welcomes nearly 800,000 visitors a year. It's housed in a former school building that's been beautifully extended and converted. Along with galleries featuring a regularly changing array of exhibits it's also home to a host of artists' studios, so you can see people at work here too.
Newport Museum and Art Gallery, Newport
Focussed on illustrating the changing face of the rural and industrial landscape here in South Wales, Newport Museum and Art Gallery has amassed a remarkable collection of over 7,300 works of art. They're of course not all on display at the same time, but you might see works by Sir Stanley Spencer, L.S. Lowry, Dame Laura Knight, Stanhope Forbes and James Flewitt Mullock, a respected 19th century artist from Newport.
National Museum of Wales, Cardiff
Cardiff's National Museum of Wales is home to artworks covering five centuries. The first floor is dedicated to the national art collections, from paintings and drawings to sculpture and ceramics. It features one of the best collections of Impressionist paintings in Britain. Turner, Monet, Rodin, Van Gogh and leading Welsh artists such as Richard Wilson, Thomas Jones, Augustus John and Gwen John are also all on display. The large contemporary wing and photography gallery have regular changing exhibitions.