• Pier Arts Centre, Orkney - image by VisitScotland/Kenny Lam


Orkney has long been home to artists and designers, drawn to the islands by our scenery, history, culture and our unique light.

You’ll find exhibition spaces across Orkney, with many islands home to pockets of artists who have put down roots and established creative communities.

In Orkney, art is sometimes unconventional, often unexpected and challenging, but always of the highest quality and integrity. Orcadian artists, such as Stanley Cursiter and Sylvia Wishart, gained worldwide recognition and put the islands firmly on the map. Today's generation of painters, potters and sculptors continue this tradition and are responsible for works of outstanding creativity.

Work is regularly on display at galleries across Orkney. The best example is the world-renowned Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, a real favourite of visiting artists and arguably the premier exhibition space in the islands. It re-opened after a significant renovation in 2007 and has an expansive permanent collection of works. It regularly showcases local talent too, with its annual open exhibition at Christmas a particular highlight.

Stromness is home to a number of other excellent galleries and has long been a haven for the artistic community. There are also dozens of other galleries and studios throughout Orkney too, where you’ll often get the chance to see artists at work and talk to them about their inspiration.

As you travel across Orkney, you will come face-to-face with the source of much of this inspiration - imposing Neolithic monuments, mystical stone circles, stunning sunsets, the Northern Lights, dramatic coastlines and crashing waves. All this might encourage you to pick up a brush and try your hand - many galleries run courses and workshops for enthusiasts of all levels.