A tiny basement gallery showcasing local and some farther reaching photography, but mostly unheardofs, embracing new and often unconventional approaches in cosy surrounds. Rapid turnover of shows so always something new to see.
Bristol's City Museum and Art Gallery offers a great collection of two and three dimensional art and design from across the world, as well as a wide-ranging archaeological collection of, particularly, objects from Ancient Egypt.
The paintings from the late Nineteenth century and the glassware, ceramics and prints from Asia benefited enormously by a bequest in the late 1940's, from Max Schiller, whose brother, Ferdinand, in addition, collected Chinese ceramics. As a result of this gift the museum has examples of work, for example, by Vuillard, Alma-Tadema and Sisley, as well as glassware from the Tang and Sung dynasties, of great quality. There is much other work of equally high quality including a beautiful Japanese woodblock print of a waterfall by Hokusai.
At certain times of the day and at weekends the museum is full of young children, which is of course an admirable feature but the racket they create can become wearisome. Perhaps like cinemas, museums should arrange noisy days for kids and quiet days for those who want to get close to the art work without being run over or deafened.
There's a good museum shop and cafeteria. The latter is particularly good.
Queen's Road, Bristol BS8 1RL
+44(0)117 922 3599
Google map: bit.ly/f5unHQ
Up and down Stokes Croft, near the centre of Bristol, there's an explosion of street art. On Jamaica Street there's an outdoor art gallery organised by the People's Republic of Stokes Croft. There are plenty of hoardings up and down Stokes Croft with interesting street-art and you can see the Banksy piece, The Mild Mild West. The shops and clubs are picking up the theme too. Don't forget to take your camera.
Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1
Jamaica St, Bristol, BS2 8JP
People's Republic of Stokes Croft www.prsc.org.uk/
You can see my article about Stokes Croft Graffiti on my blog
A giant redbrick warehouse sitting between the River Avon and the entrance to the floating harbour in the Cumberland Basin. It's home to environmental think-tanks and the City Council's sustainable development unit. It has a gallery and cafe open to the public. The best part of the centre is the attached Ecohome which anyone is welcome to nose around.
Smeaton Road, BS1 6XN;
tel: 0117 925 0505;
A 1950's former tea-packing factory now home to a hub of Bristol's artists. It's a pivotal part of the city's artist-led initiatives and is due to be completely refurbished with new gallery space, a reading room and a cafe bar by early 2007. They produce a critical journal and commission works around Bristol entitled 'Spike in the City.' Over the May Bank Holiday weekend each year they host their Open Studios event allowing the public in beyond the galleries. The opening Friday night party for Open Studios is a boozy glut of trendy art types and a lot of fun.
The Epstein Building, which houses Mivart Studios, began life as a Victorian factory. The collective of artists, performers, designers and furniture makers who now occupy the premises have an open studios weekend in the middle of October every year when the public are welcomed in to peruse the ongoing creative work.
Epstein Building, Mivart Street, Easton, BS5 6JL; tel: 0117 330 5209;
Come the third weekend of November each year it's the turn of artists living in Totterdown to cast open their front rooms as makeshift galleries. Totterdown is a hilly neighbourhood with great views and a thrown together feel to its buildings. This is a chance to sit with an artist in their house, look at their work and have a cuppa if they're kind enough to offer one.
All around Totterdown BS3;
This building had previously been Bedminster library, donated to the city in 1914 by George Wills off the back of profits made by his tobacco company. The books have moved next door and in their place is a spacious gallery with a cafe.
Number One St Peter's Court, Bedminster Parade, BS3 4AQ;
tel: 0117 963 7673;
Artists living in South Bristol throw open their houses to display their work to the public for a weekend in the middle of May each year (check the website for details). Simply follow the map. Gawp, admire, criticise or perhaps even buy something.
Bedminster, Southville & Ashton, in south Bristol;
A favourite counter-culture Bristol past-time proving that a group of activists armed with art materials can be every bit as incisive as any number of overpaid advertising executives. The concept is simple: alter an advertising billboard to subvert its message.
Advertising billboards around Bristol;
A trio of brightly coloured rooftop cubes make it easy to find. The rejuvenation of this formerly dilapidated Victorian paint and varnish factory is a fine example of urban renewal. It's now an ever evolving hub of studios with an art gallery on-site. There's also the Brasilian Bocabar providing good food and drink to reward you for a trip off the beaten track.
Bath Road, Arnos Vale, BS4 3EH;
tel: 0117 972 8838;
Take bus numbers 1, X39, 178 & 349 from the city centre or from Bristol Temple Meads train station;
Dockside contemporary art centre built into a 19th century warehouse. Attached to the galleries is a cinema and an impressively stocked specialist bookshop. The provocative cafe bar, designed by artist Bruce McLean, has seating outdoors perfect for summertime. Next to the outdoor seating is a sculpture of Italian explorer John Cabot looking longingly to the harbour's exit and out to the sea beyond.
16 Narrow Quay BS1 4QA
Downstairs there is a bar and cafe with a decent menu to choose from and bean bags to recline in. Upstairs there is exhibition space for artists and a theatre. On the third Sunday of every month there is an ever popular market selling local and organic produce. Architect George Ferguson's salvage and renovation of this building has done a great deal to revive this part of south Bristol. A great place to visit for those with an interest in urban regeneration or who may just fancy a bevvy.
Raleigh Road, Southville BS3 1TF;
tel: 0117 963 0960
An independent exhibition space tucked away down a city centre snicket in between the Crown Court and Corn Street. Half the fun is in finding the place. The gallery showcases the work of up and coming new artists and is an escape from the hustle of town.
6 Leonard Lane BS1 1EA
Easton is a free spirited neighbourhood. Reflecting the outlook of the community is Kebele, a social centre that began life as an anarchist squat. It shows films, has a library, internet access and runs a bike workshop. Open from 6pm on Sundays, the hub is the cafe where you can engage in political and philosophical discussion to your hearts content. The food is vegan and the coffee is all from the Zapatista region of Mexico.
14 Robertson Road, Easton BS5 6JY
As you hurtle down the inglorious M32 into Bristol you'll notice his name plastered in large letters across an old railway bridge. Brian Sewell claims to have unveiled Banksy's identity but little is known of him other than that he is Bristolian. His 'Mild Mild West' mural of a giant teddy bear lobbing a molotov cocktail at riot police looms large over Stokes Croft.
There's a DIY spirit down at the Cube. Their programme of film, art and music is left-field and reliably on the money. On sale at the bar is their own brand of homemade Cube-Cola along with 'feral' trade sweets from Iran and coffee from El Salvador. A Bristol treasure.
Dove Street South, off King Square, Stokes Croft
A small gallery exhibiting a selection of works by established and new artists. All the art is for sale. Probably the best part of the gallery is the courtyard out the back with a hillside view of some of the city centre.
15 Christmas Steps, BS1 5BS;
tel: 0117 930 4137;
Ditching the traditional gallery structure, Plan 9 is an artist-led group that stages arts events and exhibitions around Bristol. Given their peripatetic nature it's best to check their website to find out where their latest venture is taking place.
Bristol based visual artists are routinely snubbed by the City Museum & Art Gallery as well as other organisations in the city. They have increasingly taken the initiative themselves. R O O M was established in 2003 as an artist/ architect collaboration. It hosts exhibitions, talks and films and sells contemporary art work.
4 Alfred Place, Redcliff BS1 6ST; tel: 0117 927 3778;
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org