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How to have an artistic adventure on Argyll’s Secret Coast

How to have an artistic adventure on Argyll’s Secret Coast
The beautiful landscape and light of Argyll’s Secret Coast have inspired generations of creatives. Many artists and makers have chosen to live and work here and the nationally-renowned Tighnabruaich Gallery showcases a wide range of fabulous work. What’s more Argyll’s Secret Coast is a great base for artistic exploration. Hop on the ferry to Tarbert to visit some lovely galleries, head into Dunoon to experience a thriving artistic scene and visit Bute to discover some wonderful island-inspired art. Here are seven ways to enjoy art on Argyll’s Secret Coast.

1. Tighnabruaich Gallery sits at the heart of the village of Tighnabruaich. Long established as one of the finest galleries in the west, it brings a range of dynamic and engaging works to rural Scotland alongside contemporary art and crafts from a range of established and emerging talents. The gallery hosts a host a series of exhibitions throughout the year, so the works are constantly changing. As well as the art, the gallery also has a lovely collection of design-led jewellery, sculpture, textiles, glass and ceramics. October’s exhibition features work by textile artist Johanna Flanagan – don’t miss it!

2. The Dairy Gallery at Carry Farm is also well worth a visit. You'll find a wonderful selection of textiles and ceramics. Fiona McPhail produces knitted textiles using yarn from her Hebridean sheep. She creates a variety of beautiful objects from cushions and tea cosies to foot stools, bags and even a knitted bucket. Her sister Karen makes fabulous, functional pottery. Take a walk around Carry Point where you’ll meet Barney the donkey and the flock of Hebridean sheep.

3. The Royal an Lochan has always been a champion of local artists as you’ll see lots of artwork adorning the walls. The Harbour Gallery at the Royal shows work by Tarbert artist Stuart Herd, as well as showcasing other local artists and makers.

4. Take a trip to Dunoon to discover Dunoon Burgh Hall. This historic B listed building has been recently renovated, and is now a creative and cultural hub. Alongside a gallery and theatre, the venue offers workshop space, a garden and a café. The current exhibition of artists who have taken part in Cowal Open Studios over the years is a gem. It runs until 29th September

5. Catch a CalMac ferry to Tarbert from Portavadie to discover some gorgeous galleries. Art galleries, shops and cafés surround the natural harbour, and you can spend a happy hour or two browsing art, crafts and gifts in this bustling village.

6. The island of Bute is just a short ferry journey from Colintraive on Argyll’s Secret Coast and is home to a number of excellent artists, including Ruth Slater. A trip to Mount Stuart is a must for art appreciators. This spectacular neo-gothic palace features magnificent Victorian Gothic architecture and design together with contemporary craftsmanship.

7. One of the major artistic events of the year is Cowal Open Studios, when over 30 local artists throw open the doors of their studios to the public. Follow the arts trail deep into some of the most beautiful and hidden parts of Argyll’s Secret Coast and beyond. The art is as varied as the venues, from intricate jewellery to paintings and sculpture to gardens filled with installations. Come and see what’s behind closed doors and garden gates, meet the artists and view some wonderful work. Follow the 'West Route' trail deep into Argyll's Secret Coast. Cowal Open Studios runs from 22nd to 25th September 2017.
Tig GalleryCarry FarmMount Stuart interior
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