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The Five Best Art Galleries in Wilmington, NC

Coffeeshop, Wilmington Nc

Anyone who has ever visited the charming town of Wilmington, North Carolina has no doubt rubbed elbows with an aspect of its flourishing art community. Experiencing the artistic element of Wilmington can involve watching an artist paint a chaotic mural on the side of a brick wall or sipping fine wine within the quiet walls of a gallery. There is something to fit everyone’s tastes with plenty of opportunity to expand one’s horizons.

Art is everywhere in Wilmington: coffeehouses, parks, museums, and even restaurants proudly display the masterpieces of local and out-of-town artists for all to behold. Naturally, a few of these places stand out from the rest. Most are located in the art district of historic downtown Wilmington (no surprise there; downtown Wilmington is a thriving mini-metropolis of creative inspiration with gorgeous buildings, pricey lofts, and a thrilling nightlife). Read on to find a list of the five best galleries (and the five best secret displays!) in Wilmington, North Carolina.

1. Bottega Art and Wine
208 N. Front St, downtown Wilmington

Voted “Best Gallery” in a city-wide vote in Encore Magazine, Bottega strongly upholds its title. This creative gem is located in the heart of beautiful downtown and has remained a local favorite for years. The brightly-painted walls make this space (and its art) stand out from the rest. The bright yellows and greens are sure to attract attention, while the deep reds will instantly put you in the mood for a glass of merlot. This gallery not only displays some of the most colorful, lively art in the city, but adds to the experience with its extensive wine list and knowledgeable bartenders.

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2. Three Hounds Gallery
29 S. Front St, downtown Wilmington
If you’re hungry for more after leaving Bottega, just keep walking South on Front Street and in no time, you’ll find Three Hounds Gallery. This space shares Bottega’s high class but is more subtle in presentation. The colors are subdued and calming, giving the spotlight to the art itself. Stroll along the walls and take in the various collections by local and national artists. The art ranges from abstract still life to startling black-and-white photos, keeping the patron on his or her toes with every step.

3. Cameron Art Museum
3201 S. 17th St, midtown Wilmington
Wilmington’s most well-known art house is the Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum. As one of the main tourist attractions in town, Cameron is never empty…or boring. Stocked with a breath-taking gift shop and one of the most delicious cafes in town (Sweet ‘n Savory Cafe…try the Rawhide Wrap!), this space is a must-see for any art lover. Make a day of it and bring some extra cash…that gift shop is irresistible.

4. Spectrum Gallery
1121 Military Cutoff Rd, Landfall/Mayfaire area
If you’re touring the upscale neighborhood of Landfall, be sure to check out this bright space in the Forum Shopping Center. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, Spectrum presents a wide array of cheerful art and is also heavily involved in the community. The staff at Spectrum hosts “Goddess Night” every Tuesday, giving Wilmington women a weekly Girls’ Night Out, complete with food, wine, and planned events to keep everyone included.

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5. Fountainside Art Gallery
1900 Eastwood Rd, Landfall/Wrightsville Beach area
On the other side of Landfall, heading towards lovely Wrightsville Beach, one of the most beautiful shopping centers in town awaits eager shoppers: Lumina Station. Many shoppers, however, find themselves spending the day within the walls of Fountainside Art Gallery, Lumina’s resident space for local art. This quiet, classy gallery hosts some of the most skilled artists, mostly from North Carolina. If the natural beauty of Wilmington captivates you, then the art at Fountainside will match your tastes. These walls feature landscape artists who draw inspiration from the Carolina Coast and its beholding sights.

Surprise exhibits: you won’t find these listed under the gallery directory…but you won’t want to miss what’s hanging on their walls, either!

WHQR, 254 N. Front St
The radio station’s downtown location has an impressive gallery with monthly exhibits from all over the world.

Port City Java, various locations
Wilmington’s most popular coffeeshop franchise hangs local artists at every location.

OutWilmington Community Center, 317 Castle St
The city’s gay and lesbian organization holds exhibits for members at its community center downtown.

Deluxe Restaurant, 114 Market St
This popular upscale dining establishment is always displaying funky creations by local artists…and its all for sale!

Soapbox Laundrolounge, 255 N. Front St
A city landmark, this half nightclub/half laundromat holds art shows every month, including “The Big Art Show”, an annual event showcasing brand new talent.