Home to the Beatles, Tate Liverpool and the lovely Scouse accent, this city has the second-highest number of national museums and art galleries in the UK. If that's not enough to land Liverpool high on the list of culturally significant cities, the Liverpool Biennial saw over a million visitors in its 2018 iteration, a testament to the city's dedication to contemporary art. One of its many noteworthy arts organisations is OUTPUT.
OUTPUT is the only gallery dedicated to showing the work of creatives from or based in the Liverpool City Region. Through free exhibitions and events, we hope to encourage the development, mobility and strength of our local art scene. The gallery is based in the City Centre, houses a small vintage shop, and lives next to the famous Kazimier Gardens. We have a very busy programme, with new exhibitions opening approximately every 2 weeks, and we show all sorts: painting, photography, sculpture, film, performance and music. The gallery brings together the most famous of our kin (Mark Leckey, for example) with first-time exhibitors, graduates, emerging artists and even sixth formers. And because we’re called OUTPUT, we welcome your INPUT. If you want to put yourself forward for an exhibition, have ideas, thoughts or feelings, just give us an email or come along to an INPUT event. The gallery is run by manager Gabrielle de la Puente who designed the space to serve local artists’ needs after writing about the scene for years under The White Pube. Come along to a show, pick up a gallery loyalty card, and we hope you find something you like.
Below are galleries, events and other cultural offerings from around Liverpool as curated by Gabrielle de la Puente, Gallery manager at OUTPUT Gallery
DPG is roaming, exhibiting art in unexpected places. In line with that, they are currently based in the office of local Walton MP Dan Carden. The gallery is pioneered by Jayne Lawless who is doing tonnes to make art more accessible for everyone.
Both this and the next gallery I’ll mention can be found in Birkenhead market. Tate Aisle is kind of a shop, kind of a gallery. I guess it’s Merseyside’s version of any sort of commercial market; a salon hang of all sorts. Leave your white cube posture at the door and enjoy.
Just round the corner from Tate Aisle, Convenience are delivering a strong public programme on a shoestring. Recent recipients of the Awesome Liverpool award, the gallery is showing local artists and running workshops on everything from slide making and projection to tile painting and drawing. Keep an eye on their Instagram to follow along with what they get up to.
Based on Blundell St down in the Baltic Market, CBS are exhibition space, studios and framers in one. The programme is sporadic so catch it when you can, or check their website out to browse past shows from both their current and original locations.
And let me just quickly squeeze in the biggest galleries as one final point: Tate Liverpool, FACT, Bluecoat, Open Eye and the Walker. Loads of the galleries in Liverpool recently got new directors so it’s difficult to guess what’s to come, or how these spaces will change under them. But they are the staples, the slow-moving ones, and you’ll probably already know ‘em unlike the above.
LightNight takes place every May, with art events and galleries open and active til late. Artists can also submit to do things as part of it, and LightNight give out funding for activities so if you have an idea get in there early.
Liverpool’s one of only a few cities in the world with two cathedrals and ours are both on the same street and boast some mad architecture. Free to get in, and although going up the Anglican isn’t free, it’s not expensive and it’s worth it. When I was doing my A-Levels we used to go into these two to draw, and I still go back there all the time just to be in the spaces. The Anglican also does exhibitions every so often like the big moon and earth that have been doing the rounds, and some student shows in the basements below.
Chinese New Year is always really good. A parade snakes its way around the city centre and China Town, and there are performances to check out at Pagoda Arts which is one of the many local NPOs here. They have a very successful Youth Orchestra too.
Love it or hate it, local artist Paul Curtis’ work is everywhere. He’s the one that painted the wings in the Baltic that everybody Instagrams. I’m all for some populism, so check out his different insert-yourself-art scenes around the city.
River of Light is kind of what it sounds like. Like an enhanced Bonfire Night, the city council offers a bit more than the fireworks and you can check out light-based installations all along the waterfront.
Sweet study spots
I’m not a student anymore but if I need to get some solid work down, I grab a packed lunch and go to Central Library. Sit on the top floor, take breaks on the roof, and the cafe on the ground floor sells pastel de nata so there’s that.
Cafes to study in include top floor of Leaf in town, Egg if you’re a veggie, Mother is very chic but a bit expenny. Leaf has the best WiFi by far, though, and the most plugs so I always head there to work.
Alternative and art cinemas
Liverpool is a funny one for alternative cinema because we used to have a Small Cinema but the project was lost to building redevelopment. We have a Picturehouse cinema based in FACT but for even more alternative content I’d check out Liverpool Horror Club, Scalarama, and Empty Spaces Cinema as and when these pop up.
Adornments for your calendar
Head straight to Culture Liverpool’s site for the full calendar of events.