There are exhibits of both historical and contemporary art; it's a good place to see a cross section of work from an area that has long attracted painters, potters, woodworkers, and other artists. Many of them come for the scenery, the lifestyle, and the clay and, as a result, Nelson is considered the ceramics center of New Zealand. In recent years the gallery has increased its emphasis on painting and sculpture and there is a retail gallery with some of this quality work for sale. National touring exhibits come through regularly and they have a significant collection of nationally renowned artists such as John Gully and Toss Woollaston. A lunch café in the gallery looks out over neighboring Queen's Gardens.