Where to Find Art Galleries in the Cook Islands
Be inspired by the passion and talent of the locals and perhaps come home with a unique souvenir from the fabulous art galleries in the Cook Islands. The only formal art galleries in the Cook Islands can be found on the island of Rarotonga, but the art of crafting intricate “rito” hats, earrings and black pearl jewellery is something that can be admired across the islands. But when it comes to art galleries specifically, we list some of our favourites below! Note that all of the art galleries in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands are free entry.
For more cultural experiences, don’t forget to check How to Have an Authentic Cook Islander Experience.
1. Bergman Gallery
Set within the coral limestone walls of the historic Beachcomber Building, the Bergman Gallery represents artists from the Cook Islands and the Pacific region. The free art gallery in Avarua features ever-changing exhibitions in a spacious exhibition room across the courtyard from a quirky cafe with its own interesting pieces at “the vinyl revival club”. The Bergman Gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm and Saturday 10am to 12pm. See more activities nearby in the 10 Best Things to Do in Avarua.
Location: Coastal side of the main road (Ara Tapu), opposite Makea Tinirau Road, the eastern end of Avarua (north side of Rarotonga).
2. The Little Red Gallery
Impossible to miss when driving in or out of Avarua, The Little Red Gallery is, indeed, inside a little red building. See gorgeous contemporary paintings that draw inspiration from the Cook Islander culture and the natural world of the South Pacific. Not only can you browse and purchase gorgeous paintings, but you can join the studio’s artist for a six-hour painting workshop! Learn effective techniques and come away with a painting of a hibiscus flower (or something else, if you have your own ideas) that’s a size value of NZ$350! The Little Red Gallery is open Monday to Thursday, from 9am to 3pm. You can usually watch them do live paintings at the Punanga Nui Market on a Saturday morning.
Location: Main Road (Ara Tapu), western side of Avarua (north side of Rarotonga).
3. 2Mamas Gallery
See the works of two bubbly “mamas”, Maria File and Maureen Kemp, at the aptly named 2Mamas Gallery. They have a variety of paintings and prints on display and for sale at their gallery on the back roads of Arorangi. Be inspired by stunning landscape paintings, flowers, Pacific wildlife and more. You can also find the 2Mamas at the Punanga Nui Market on a Saturday morning, which you can learn more about in the 5 Best Markets in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands. The gallery in Arorangi is open from Monday to Wednesday, 9am to 2pm.
Location: The turnoff to 2Mamas Gallery is on the inland road (Ara Metua) just north of the turnoff to Highland Paradise, Arorangi (west side of Rarotonga).
4. The Art Box
The quirkiest art gallery in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, The Art Box is a treat to stumble upon the back roads of Arorangi. This little gallery is set inside a shipping container displaying all sorts of colourful paintings on canvas and wood. The artist that owns The Art Box, Ari, isn’t always there but you are free to peruse and use the honesty box should you want to purchase anything.
Location: The big white “Art Box” sign is easy to spot along the main road (Ara Tapu) in Arorangi (west side of Rarotonga).
5. Charlotte Piho Gallery
Turtle tour guide and award-winning photographer, Charlotte Piho, offers a space to browse her photography at the Charlotte Piho Gallery in Muri. As well as book turtle swimming tours, you can see some of her award-winning underwater shots and purchase prints on puzzles, cushions, greeting cards and bags. Check out her turtle tours on Viator and Tripadvisor, should you can get some of your own turtle photography done, and compare tours in the 10 Best Turtle Swimming Tours in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Location: Main Road (Ara Tapu), Muri (east side of Rarotonga).
More About Art in the Cook Islands
While that might be our picks for the best art galleries in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, there are many other ways to experience art in the Cook Islands. Browse gorgeous crafts woven by talented locals, see beautiful jewellery made on-site at many of the pearl shops, and see historic works at the museums. We cover all of this in the following guides:
- The Best Places to Buy Souvenirs in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- The Guide to Shopping in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands + The Best Places to Shop
- 5 Best Museums in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, inspire yourself with more experiences using our 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List.