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Visual arts in Wellington

From cutting-edge emerging art, to works by established artists and celebrated art legends, you're bound to find something new and compelling to adorn the walls of your mind — or the walls of your home. With our city's characteristic compactness, Wellington's art scene is easy to get around, with many galleries closely located around the creative heart of the Cuba Quarter.

City Gallery Wellington

City Gallery hosts a regularly rotating array of exhibitions featuring the work of local, New Zealand and international contemporary artists. On the first Thursday of every month, the gallery holds a popular late night session and invites everyone to come and enjoy the art with a cash bar and live music. 

Adam Art Gallery

Just a short (but uphill!) walk or cruisey Cable Car ride from the city, the Adam Art Gallery is a hot spot for critically engaged exhibitions of visual art, architecture and design. Located on campus at Victoria University of Wellington, the contemporary, purpose-built gallery was designed by award-winning architect, Ian Athfield, and is renowned for its unique architectural spaces.

Cuba Art Quarter

Bartley 2

The Cuba Quarter is home to some of the city's most exciting contemporary art galleries. Compact and closely located in and around Cuba Street, these galleries are easy to explore on a Saturday morning with stops between galleries for coffee and lunch. 

Walk up the stairs to the famous McLeavey Gallery, which has been representing leading contemporary New Zealand artists since 1968. Pop into Bartley + Company for high-quality, critically relevant art in all media from leading and emerging artists. Be lured in by Bowen Gallery's artworks in their front window and have a look through their well-stocked stock room. Wander further up Cuba Street for the perfectly minimalist Hopkinson Mossman and {Suite} Gallery's large street-front gallery with storeroom and sculpture garden.

Toi Art at Te Papa

Te Papa's spectacular art gallery spans two floors with a changing exhibition programme featuring new artworks, as well as works drawn from the national art collection. Check out the Toi Art website for an overview of what's on. 

Young & Upcoming

Millers OBrien new

Head to Precinct 35's gallery space, 35B, for exhibitions by upcoming artists, as well as beautiful selection handmade ceramics and jewellery. Started by two young artists, Millers O'Brien features local and New Zealand artists working in a range of mediums including painting, jewellery, video and sculpture. You'll find the gallery above The Lido on Victoria Street. 

NZ Art Show

Every year in June, Wellington hosts the largest exhibition and sale of original and affordable art by emerging and established NZ artists. It’s a visual feast for art lovers and those interested in purchasing original New Zealand Art at affordable prices. 

PĀTAKA Art + Museum

A short drive or train trip from the city, PĀTAKA Art + Museum in Porirua showcases the best in contemporary Maori and Polynesian art from around New Zealand and the world. With five main galleries and over 14 major exhibitions each year, PĀTAKA makes for a rewarding day trip for art lovers.

The Dowse Art Museum

The Dowse Art Museum is a leading contemporary art gallery in Lower Hutt with an international reputation for its high-quality visitor experiences. Entry is free to their regularly changing exhibition programme featuring contemporary visual art, fashion, jewellery, multi-media and ceramics. The Dowse has a dedicated children’s space providing colouring supplies, a puppet show and books, and on-site licensed café Bell Bird is the perfect spot for a post-art viewing cuppa or a glass of wine and a bite to eat.  

Like what you see? Browse through more of Wellington's upcoming exhibitions