Pier Arts Centre

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The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness houses a remarkable collection of 20th Century British art. The collection charts the development of modern art in Britain and includes key works by Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo among others.

The Centre's founder, Margaret Gardiner (1904 -2005), was a close friend of many of the artists represented in the Pier Gallery Collection and her decision to give a large part of her personal collection to the people of Orkney led to the opening of the Centre in 1979.

The Gallery also presents a changing programme of local, national and international exhibitions and events. The Collection and temporary exhibitions are housed in two stylishly converted buildings that lie at the heart of a conservation area, which recognises Stromness' unique townscape. Together all these factors provide a pleasurable and entertaining experience for the visitor to the Pier Arts Centre.

Venue Type:


Collection details

Fine Art

Key artists and exhibits

  • Barbara Hepworth
  • Ben Nicholson
  • Naum Gabo
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

light wave - luminance and line in the Pier Arts Centre Collection

  • 25 April — 27 May 2015 *on now

This exhibition marks the International Year of Light and features works of art from the Pier Arts Centre’s unique collection that celebrate light, form and colour.

light wave shines a focus on artists who use light to illuminate surface, to cast shadow, to emphasise colour or who have developed other surprising ways to utilise or define light.

Roger Ackling captures the power of the sun through a hand held magnifying glass, burning dark lines onto faded found wooden objects
Garry Fabian Miller carefully controls light entering his studio to create phenomenological photographs using glass vessels, coloured inks and light sensitive paper. Adam Barker-Mill modulates light through deft structures that express the subtlety of tone within a single colour under differing lights.

The exhibition also includes poems and films by Margaret Tait alongside selected poetry by George Mackay Brown and Ian Hamilton Finlay that consider light in scientific, spiritual and aesthetic terms.



Out of my Own Light - Louise Bichan

  • 25 April — 30 May 2015 *on now

A selection of photographs and artefacts by Orcadian artist and musician Louise Bichan documenting a journey through Canada, in the footsteps of her grandmother Margaret Sarah Tait.



ARTIST ROOMS: Damien Hirst

  • 20 June — 12 September 2015

A selection of Damien Hirst works held by ARTISTS ROOMS. This exhibition provides an opportunity to view Hirst’s work alongside the Centre’s Collection of 20th and 21st century Modernist art and in particular to highlight the connections between Hirst and Margaret Mellis – she was a close friend and mentor of Hirst’s during the development of his early career.

The Centre’s exhibitions and the Mellis works in the gallery’s collection will allow new readings of both artists’ work providing a challenging and rewarding experience for audiences in the far north of the UK.



Pier Arts Centre
Victoria Street
Orkney Islands
KW16 3AA






01856 850209


01856 851462

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.