In the late sixties a small group of artists joined together with a desire to promote and encourage painting and craft skills in North Devon. They aimed to achieve this by displaying the work of local artists by means of an annual exhibition, the procedes of which raised money to support local charities. Mr Walter Elliot, a very well known local artist, headed the group and to this day he remains the President of the Ilfracombe Art & Craft Society.

Initially empty shops in the high street were rented during the summer months. Then in 1975 space was obtained in the east wing of the old pavillion. The exhibition stayed at the pavillion until 1990, moving then to the hall of the Emmanuel Church for the next 4 years. The Gallery returned to the east wing for a further 3 years until the pavillion was demolished. The old TIC building then became the home of the Gallery for the next 6 years.

In 2004 a new 7 year lease was negotiated to rent the ground floor Hall of the Emmanuel Church where we remained until June 2015.

In July 2015, with the help and hard work of the members of the society, The Gallery reopened in one of the large premises along The Promenade, oposite the original site of the Pavillion.

We are proud to have created an exhibition area for local Art and Craft that is probably the best independent and non-subsidised exhibition facility in North Devon. 

Today we average over 40,000 visitors each season and have maintained our ambition to support local charities. Over the last 40 years the society has donated close on £100,000 to local causes. We have also now become a registered charity. 

All items for sale in the Gallery are produced by local artists and crafts people and each season there is an ongoing raffle for a painting of your choice from three paintings offered.