The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, or The Poly, has a long-standing relationship with the local artistic community and have been at the heart of Falmouth since 1833.
Cornwall is the place to be if you’re an artist or an entrepreneurial creative. The light here is ethereal, the scenery striking and the opportunities to expand creative skillsets, through workshops and tuition, endless. In Falmouth, the art scene is eclectic and it homes some of the region’s best modern creatives and up-and-coming talent. The university offers young artists a place to thrive and learn, and many decide to remain in the town after completing their degree, adding to the growing pool of creatives that live and work in the county.
Falmouth is home to some of the county’s best art galleries, with collections that celebrate a large sum of Cornwall’s most successful and blossoming artists. Showing anything from local landscape pieces and contemporary works to stunning sculptures and earthy ceramics, these are the galleries inspiring the next creative generation and helping to show off Falmouth’s artistic community.
A piece of artwork in itself, the beautiful Morgans Gallery on Arwenack Street was established in 2019 by owners Ann and Tony Morgan, alongside their three creative daughters -Martha, Ella and Clara.
Since purchasing the three-storey building, the family have invested a lot of time and creative energy in designing and renovating the space into a light-filled artistic sanctuary, where glass roofs allow sunlight to shine on white walls and bounce off colourful artwork. All work on the gallery and studios was carried out and managed by Tony, (who has a background in restoring historic buildings) with local craftspeople, over the course of 18 months.
This family-run business was developed out of many years of diverse experience in the art and design industries. Exhibiting a range of disciplines and young and emerging talent alongside established artists, they offer a mix of painters, ceramicists and makers – some of whom they have known for years and others who they have discovered recently and have roots in Cornwall or studied at the University.
As well as their usual regular exhibitions, Morgans Gallery also offers open studio events and opportunities to join classes run by the individual creatives.
Beside The Wave
Established in 1989, Beside The Wave is one of Cornwall’s most well-know and recognised contemporary art galleries, with an international following of collectors.
Acquired in 2007 by Ingrid Heseltine, this beautiful space on Arwenack Street has been run by her daughter, Florence Lowry, since 2019.
Artworks here are predominantly rooted in landscapes; with Cornwall’s rich and narrative towns, coastline and countryside the source of inspiration for much of the work that they exhibit. In addition to their landscapes, they also display a collection of ceramics, abstract prints and gorgeous jewellery pieces.
Beside The Wave also invites visitors to commission their artists directly, so if you’re seeking a bespoke piece based on your favourite Cornwall view, they will happily organise with the artist of your choice.
They are known locally to host an exciting and frequent schedule of exhibitions throughout the year which are accompanied by special opening nights.
The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, or The Poly, has a long-standing relationship with the local artistic community and have been at the heart of Falmouth since 1833. Set up by sisters Anna Maria and Caroline Fox, it was founded to ‘promote the useful and fine arts, to encourage industry and to elicit the ingenuity of a community distinguished for its mechanical skill’.
Populating this Grade II listed building on Church Street, The Poly gallery and guild sit on the ground floor and host a varied collection of contemporary arts and crafts. They change the exhibitors regularly so visitors always have an opportunity to discover someone new.
The popular Poly Guild shop, which was founded in 2015, houses an array of beautiful and unique work created by Cornwall’s local, creative community of makers and craftspeople, with over 70 artists in their network. The Poly handpick everything for their shop and exclusively curate work with local connections. All of the artists they represent are based in Falmouth and Penryn, or have studied at higher education in Cornwall.
On the second floor, there is a larger gallery room with its own cocktail and coffee house ‘Solksinn’, making it an ideal venue for artists desiring a celebratory exhibition.
As well as hosting a popular gallery, in 2019 The Poly opened Falmouth’s first community pottery, complete with kilns, throwing wheels and a studio. Their kiln-firing services, ability to organise exhibitions, and studio spaces available for makers is helping to enable Falmouth’s ceramic heritage to thrive.
A list of their upcoming pottery workshops can be found here.
Cor Gallery and Cor Next Door
Founded by Emily Dymond in 2020, who moved to Cornwall when she was eight years old, Cor Gallery is a contemporary art space based at the bottom of The Old Highstreet.
Originally opening with one gallery space but now consisting of two galleries, directly next door to each other. The second space, named Cor Next Door, is curated with exclusively large pieces.
The gallery aims to bring an eclectic and dynamic range of work that is in keeping with bright and energetic Falmouth town.
Emily believes deeply in the importance of relationships, whether that be between the gallery and the artists or the gallery and the art collector.
White-painted walls and floorboards help to illuminate the colourful collection of art pieces on the walls and act in contrast to the gallery’s black exterior. The wolf-whistle-worthy window arrangements are difficult to miss as you meander up the hill and peeping in will surely have you wanting to start or add to your own art collection.
This is an accessible and welcoming space that is for both collectors and lovers of art.
For the creatively curious and those who celebrate the handmade, Inspire Makers is based on The Old High Street below our central and striking apartment Maker’s Loft. With stunning views down to the harbour through the Barracks Ope, this is the perfect location for a Falmouth gallery. This wonderful space showcases over 40 different Cornish contemporary design-led artists and makers and is managed by owner Vicki who herself is a jewellery and glass artist.
Inspire Makers is a Grade II listed building with a dedicated workshop space, offering a lovely programme of classes to inspire people to take up making themselves. It is also Vicki’s very own jewellery and glass studio and showcases a curated selection of both well-known and emerging craftspeople across ceramics, textiles, jewellery, paintings, prints, stationery, and homewares. Each artist or maker has been selected due to their unique style or technique and the story of each creative accompanies their display, so visitors are able to understand more about their practice and what goes into their work.