Celebrating 100 Years of Bermuda Art

City Hall & Arts Centre

Standing proudly in the heart of Hamilton, the City Hall & Arts Centre is the epicentre of the arts in Bermuda. The building, which was built by Will Onions in the late 1950s, provides a sanctuary amidst the bustle of the island’s only city.

Housing both the Bermuda National Gallery and the Bermuda Society of Arts, along with the Earl Cameron Theatre, the landmark celebrates the arts, in all its forms, under one roof.

With the Bermuda National Gallery recently named Best Museum and the Bermuda Society of Arts named Best Gallery in the 2022 Best of Bermuda Awards by The Bermudian Magazine, there is no better time to visit.

As BNG celebrates its 30th anniversary, and the BSOA celebrates its 70th anniversary, step in to explore 100 years of Bermuda Art.

City Hall & Arts Centre is open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm. Closed on public holidays. 

Best of Bermuda Awards: Best Museum

Situated on the first floor, the Bermuda National Gallery houses Bermuda’s national art collection and presents innovative exhibitions and programming for every member of your family. A dynamic institution with an energetic staff and volunteer team, the contemporary art museum delivers world-class art and culture experiences in the heart of Hamilton.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the gallery, which grew from a collective of artists who returned to the island in the 1970s after studying abroad; their shared workspace becoming a place of collaboration and discussion for young, visionary Bermudian artists.

There are three exhibitions currently on display: The 2022 Bermuda Biennial A New Vocabulary: Past. Present. Future., which showcases the best of Bermuda’s contemporary art (shown above); From Darkness to Light: Portraits by Henry Ward which captures key figures in Bermuda’s diverse communities and A Personal Perspective: Photographs by Richard Saunders which showcases a selection of striking black and white photographs held in the gallery’s permanent collection.

BNG Kids Activity Books to accompany each exhibition, as well as the nearby Sculpture Park, can be picked up (free) in the gallery to encourage children to explore on their own.

Admission is $5 for adults, free for BNG members, seniors, students and NARM members.

Best of Bermuda Awards: Best Gallery

Established in 1952 and celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, the Bermuda Society of Arts is the oldest arts establishment on the island. The gallery was originally housed in the Hamilton Hotel, which stood where the City Hall & Arts Centre carpark is situated today. The hotel was destroyed by a fire in 1955 and upon completion of the City Hall & Arts Centre in 1961, the gallery was granted a lifetime tenancy.

Affectionately known as The People’s Gallery, BSOA provides an essential space for emerging local artists to both showcase and sell their work. Many of Bermuda’s established artists showed their work for the first time at the gallery.

Situated on the top floor of City Hall & Arts Centre, the gallery works with both individual artists and community organisations. Launched in 1983, the Bermuda Society of Arts Scholarship Award provides financial assistance for Bermudians pursuing higher education in art and underlines the gallery’s mission to nurture the growth of visual art and artists in Bermuda.

Current exhibitions include The Journey to Emancipation: Summer Members Show and The Marine Art Prize. Shown above: The Annual Primary Schools Art Show 2022, photographed by Akil Simmons for The Royal Gazette. 

Admission to the Bermuda Society of Arts is free.

City Art Tour

Launched 7 years ago, VIVID: The City of Hamilton Public Art Initiative, previously known as the City Arts Festival, brings artworks outside the four walls of the City Hall & Arts Centre building and into the streets of the city.

The City of Hamilton recently launched a city art tour map, allowing visitors to complete a self-guided art tour of the city. Taking in 19 works, mostly large-scale murals, such as Flourish Your Mind by Alshante Foggo (shown above), the tour includes two works produced in collaboration with the Bermuda National Gallery in support of the Peaceful Art Protest (shown below).

Art Tour Maps can be picked up from the City Hall & Arts Centre. Or click here to download a copy.