You may not be aware of this, but London actually has a bursting art scene. It’s vibrant and filled with emerging talents as well as some well-rooted talents. It’s supportive and collaborative and absolutely amazing to see. They say that art inspires art, so whether you’re looking to dive into art yourself, are looking to add a little more culture to your life, or are just wanting to do something a little different than just sitting at home binge-watching the newest Netflix series, then take a look at the best art galleries that London has to offer. You might be surprised at just how many great ones we have!
Don’t let the name confuse you, Museum London hosts historical art, contemporary art, as well as historical artifacts. It is, in all sense of the word, an art gallery. Back in 1989 the London Regional art Gallery and the London Historical Museum came together, amalgamated, and created what we now know as Museum London. Museum London is one of Southwestern Ontario’s leading centres for the collection and preservation of visual art and culture.
Museum London has over 5000 Canadian works and 45000 artifacts that show London Ontario’s history. Despite the large collection, only a small portion of their pieces can be shown at a time in the museum, but they do display their entire collection on their website. On top of that, they curate a number of fresh exhibits that change throughout the year.
Museum London was first established back in 1940 but was located in London Public Library. It wasn’t until 1980 that an architect was commissioned to create the stunning building that it now resides in on the forks of the Thames River in downtown London.
Through educational programming and special events held in the museum, they promote enjoying and understanding regional art as well as history. Their special events are more than just the traditional open house and hands-on art programs that many galleries hold. They also host dances and events that draw in younger generations, to ignite excitement about art.
MICHAEL GIBSON GALLERY
Founded by Michael Gibson back in 1984, this gallery is a private gallery and is committed to buying and selling the very best of Canadian art, as well as historical and international pieces. Its speciality is contemporary art. While this is a private gallery, it does hold some public gallery shows for exciting exhibits. This gallery features both up and coming and well-established artists.
You can check out the incredibly talented artists here. They host a number of different exhibits at one time and change them throughout the year, making this gallery one for serious art collectors to keep their eyes on.
Their art experts offer appraisals of original artwork. They have over 40 years of combined experience appraising and have appraised some prestigious pieces for museums, institutions, as well as for private collections. Their appraisal expertise includes CCPERB appraisals for public galleries and museums, insurance appraisals, estate appraisals, market appraisals for equitable division or inherited pieces.
Michael Gibson Gallery also offers collection consultation. They can advise about what pieces to buy and sell and can help to curate a collection that suits your personality and tastes. They can also advise on art restoration, proper framing, and even shipping.
Westland Gallery has focused on nurturing the creative community within London Ontario. Their gallery showcases the work of both established and up and coming local artists from London Ontario and surrounding areas.
The gallery hosts a number of great events that foster connections within London’s creative community and art scene. Some of those events include art talks, guest speakers, workshops, receptions, as well as shopping events
Their website’s blog features local artists and gives their backstories and inspirations. As part of their commitment to encourage the art community, they actually recommend The Art Exchange to those looking for framing for their art purchases.
THE ART EXCHANGE
The Art Exchange was an interesting concept thought up by Al Stewart back in 1997. They took pieces of art that were framed and laminated in exchange for store credit. They continued with this for a couple of years before becoming a fine art gallery and framing shop.
The Art Exchange showcases local and fine art pieces in their gallery. They also offer plenty of prints in a wide variety of price ranges, making it so that any budget can find a piece that they love in their gallery. In an interesting and unique contrast to exhibits, The Art Exchange has Gallery Rooms. Those rooms are set up in a homey environment, complete with comfy seating. The artwork is then displayed in the room. Think of it like how IKEA sets up rooms in their stores so that you can picture what their furniture could possibly look like at home. They often use these Gallery Rooms for featured artists or themed collections.
On top of the gallery, The Art Exchange also offer custom picture framing. They can help you learn all about displaying and protecting your art.
FOREST CITY GALLERY
The Forest City Gallery is London’s only artist-run centre. Artists can apply to become a member and help shape London’s Art scene through the Forest City Gallery. Because this is an artist-run gallery, they’re always interested in having local artists submit their recent work, especially with pieces that spark conversation. They support local artists and want to foster conversations within the local and international art community. They’re committed to paying all of the artists in their exhibits, as well as any lecturing artists.
As an artist-run centre, they’re able to put a focus on new and emerging talent and forward-thinking practices. Their commitment to excellence in programs, events, and exhibits makes this one of London’s top galleries to visit. The gallery is open Wednesdays to Saturdays and runs on the kind donations of those enjoying the exhibits and events.
The Forest City Gallery was founded back in 1973 by a group of London’s local artists and musicians. As it was one of Canada’s first artist-run centres and galleries, it inspired the creation of the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario and the Canadian Artist’ Representation.
Rivertown Galleries has been part of London Ontario’s art scene for over 18 years, but have over 30 years of experience in the industry. They’re known around town for providing quality art services for both residential and business clients.
If you head over to Rivertown Galleries you’ll find an assortment of original paintings, prints, and giclee prints on canvas. Their art is created by renowned artists from all across North America. You can check out their online galleries to get a sense of what kinds of prints you can purchase for your home or office.
On top of being able to find incredible art here, they also offer framing services. If you have a painting, picture, poster, embroidery, or even an interesting artifact like a medal or sports jersey that you would like to have framed, they can work with you to find the best custom framing solution for your situation. On top of that, they also offer needle point stretching and plaque mounting services.
If you’re looking for a unique housewarming gift or piece of home decor, pop into their gallery shop. They have incredible sculptures, home decor, and gifts that make for unique and thoughtful gifts. In terms of gifts and decor, you can find everything from stunning mirrors and unique mugs to art books, jewellery, and even one-of-a-kind pens!
JOHNATHON BANCROFT-SNELL GALLERY
If you’re into ceramics, there is no better place in London to check out than the Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery. It was established here in Ontario back in the year 2000 and has quickly evolved into the go-to place for ceramic collectors. Over 125 of Canada’s most prestigious and talented ceramic artists have their pieces showcased in this gallery. The artists come from all over Canada.
Ceramics are not all that they offer here. Works from Canada’s leading silversmiths are also displayed here, as well as incredible paintings. You’ll also be able to find the woodwork of Doug Magrath, bronze sculptures from George Shadford, and the unique works of the fibre artist Nancy Latchford.
This 4500 square foot gallery is a mecca of unique and one-of-a-kind collections. The Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery also has a private exhibition hall, which hosts a number of different solo and joint exhibitions throughout the year.
While there are always new pieces coming in, but they also offer some “repeat” work. There is a piece of ceramic art to fit every taste and budget.
This family-owned and operated gallery sells artwork from both Canadian artists as well as international artists. They offer a wide range of different styles, tastes, and art mediums. These art dealers are more than happy to work with you to find a unique piece that is perfect to transform your space, whether it’s at home or the office.
If you’re interested in one-on-one art consulting, the Artisan’s Alley is the place to go for that. They are well versed in the industry and offer professional consultations to help you find pieces that fit your space, taste, and personality perfectly.
As the owner is also an artist and a specialist in dealing with Canadian artwork, there is a special love for community and Canadian pieces.
You can check out their gallery to see what works they currently have available, but they also work in art dealing and can find you pieces that you’re looking for. On top of their consultation and custom artwork, they also offer art education as well as framing services.
The McIntosh Gallery, known for its bright red doors, has been part of London’s art scene since 1942. It’s based out of the University of Western Ontario, but is a public art gallery. The McIntosh Gallery is more than just a space for art. This gallery has a very specific intention: to make sense of and disseminate visual culture. They do this through developing original and ingenious approaches by working with artists, curators, and of course, academics.
The McIntosh Gallery hosts exhibitions as well as educational and eye-opening programs that allow visitors to engage and interact with visual art and the artists. They also host a number of special events, such as workshops, lectures, and more.
Their artwork is not contained inside the (beautiful) stone building. There is also their Sculpture Garden around the art gallery, which hosts 8 incredible structures that you can tour around and appreciate.
The McIntosh Gallery does offer tours with advanced notice. They can work with you to create tours designed specifically for your group and can be a wealth of knowledge and insight into the art.
ART GALLERY OF LAMBETH & STUDIO
Two London Ontario award-winning artists, Vivian Tserotas and Brenda Morris, came together to create the Art Gallery of Lambeth. They promote incredible artists and artwork in their gallery, as well as provide visual arts education. You can purchase original pieces and prints in their gallery, as well as other unique and interesting gift ideas, such as handmade jewellery and even pottery items.
There is an intense community focus at the Art Gallery of Lambeth & Studio. Art workshops and classes for adults, children’s art programs, and a variety of events are all held in this gallery. Many of the classes and workshops are perfect for beginner artists and are a great place to not only socialize but discover or re-discover your love of creating. The instructor walks you through the entire evening in a slow, step-by-step process so that even the most novice can follow long. They also offer on-location events where you can book a private party in any of their partnered venues.
This art gallery is not one that you go to once. It quickly becomes a regular place to explore and enjoy. You never know when you might drop in and find an artist or even one of the curators working on a new piece there. The exhibits regularly change, showcasing different mediums, themes and styles.