Bermuda might be famous for its pink-sand beaches and turquoise water, but that’s not all the island has to offer. For visitors who enjoy art, there’s plenty to see and do, from sleeping among works by modern masters to scouring the streets in search of mosaics and murals. Come rain or shine, here are five fun ways to discover Bermuda’s diverse and sophisticated art scene.
Stay at The Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club
Earlier this year, the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club unveiled a $100 million renovation that brought with it a staggering modern art collection. Whether arriving at the check-in desk or dining in the hotel’s restaurants, guests can marvel at works by Henri Matisse, René Magritte, Takashi Murakami, and dozens more influential artists. (Searching for the most Insta-worthy artwork? Head for the hotel’s breezy back lawn, where a nearly 19-foot-tall Mickey Mouse-inspired sculpture by New York artist KAWS towers near a staircase.)
Even in-room welcome treats include miniature modern artworks, reimagined in chocolate by the hotel’s pastry chef. Guided tours of the hotel’s art collection are offered every Saturday at 10 a.m. and are free for guests.
Go Gallery Hopping in Hamilton—and Beyond
Bermuda is home to a number of intimate galleries showcasing works by internationally known and local artists. Housed in a historical building in downtown Hamilton, the Bermuda National Gallery was founded in 1992 and features pieces from a range of periods and provenances. For a small admission fee, visitors can wander through a permanent collection of Bermuda-inspired impressionist works and browse temporary exhibitions. (Its current Pop Art exhibition features works by Banksy, Jeff Koons, and more.)
In 2020, the gallery, which offers public art tours each Thursday, will host the Bermuda Biennial. Other spots worth exploring include the Bermuda Society of Arts in Hamilton, which hosts exhibitions, workshops, and other events and has a well-curated shop, and the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda’s West End. Once home to the British Royal Navy, the dockyard is now home to several shops and galleries, including the Bermuda Arts Centre, Dockyard Glassworks, the Bermuda Craft Market, and Bermuda Clayworks (think pottery painting and pot-throwing classes).
Tour the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art
Situated within the island’s Botanical Gardens, the Masterworks Museum houses more than 1,500 pieces of Bermuda-inspired art dating from the 1700s to present day. Featured artists include Winslow Homer, Albert Gleizes, and Georgia O’Keeffe, the latter of who lived on the island for a year in the 1930s. In addition to those big-name artists, the museum also hosts rotating exhibitions that showcase contemporary local talents.
Searching for something to take home? Head to the gift shop, where you can pick up locally made art and crafts. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students aged 12-18, and free for kids under 12.
Hunt for Street Art in Hamilton
In addition to cafes, coffee shops, and boutiques, downtown Hamilton is home to a number of eye-popping artworks. For the ultimate social media snap, head to the Dorchester building on Church Street. Its side exterior bears a giant “Welcome to Bermuda” mural by Victor Ving and Lisa Beggs, a New York-based duo known professionally as Greetings Tour. Completed in April 2019, it’s the couple’s 36th such mural, and their first outside the U.S. (A smaller version of the mural is painted on the wall of a courtyard at the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club; ask a staffer to point you toward the spot, which has its own hashtag, #poseonpink.)
Other photo-worthy spots in Hamilton include Chancery Lane (it’s just off of Front Street, between Parliament and Burnaby streets), where a cafe-lined set of stairs is painted in vivid colors and peppered with hopeful phrases. And don’t leave town without stopping to admire the intricate mosaic of a schooner that covers an exterior wall of the A.S. Cooper building. It was created by the department store’s founder’s great-granddaughter, Dana Cooper.
Create Your Own Masterpiece
If you’re feeling inspired by all of the art you’ve spotted around Bermuda, consider unleashing your own inner Picasso with a painting class hosted by MIX Studio, a public pop-up art studio launched in Bermuda in 2017 by Canada native Bella Richards. Located inside Gallery One Seventeen on Hamilton’s bustling Front Street, MIX hosts evening and weekend art workshops for adults, including BYOB wine workshops every Wednesday night (guests must be at least 18 to attend the latter).
Traveling with young artists in tow? MIX also offers weekend classes for kids age 5 through 12. Class fees include easels, canvases, paints, and brushes–all the essentials necessary to create your own take-home artwork.