As you’d expect in such a visually stirring locale, there’s a plethora of great art galleries in the Beaufort-St. Helena area. While most are clustered on Bay Street, there are gems scattered all over. Almost all are worth a look, but here are a few highlights.
My favorite gallery in Beaufort  is the simply named The Gallery (802 Bay St., 843/470-9994, www.thegallery-beaufort.com , Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m.). Deanna Bowdish brings in the most cutting-edge regional contemporary artists in a large, friendly, loft-like space.
The Beaufort Art Association Gallery (1001 Bay St., 843/379-2222, www.beaufortartassociation.com , Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m.) hosts rotating exhibits by member artists in the stately and historic Elliott House.
Lovers of the Lowcountry  will enjoy the aesthetic at the two-floor Rhett Gallery (901 Bay St., 843/524-3339, www.rhettgallery.com , Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Sun. variable hours). Owner Nancy Rhett submitted one of the designs for the state’s Friends of Hunting Island license plate.
Close by in the Old Bay Marketplace is Art and Soul (917 Bay St., 843/379-9710, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.), featuring over 50 regional artists.
A complete art experience blending the traditional with the cutting-edge is at the I. Pinckney Simons Art Gallery (711 Bay St., 843/379-4774, www.ipinckneysimonsgallery.com , Tues.–Fri. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.–3 p.m.), which is pronounced “Simmons” despite the spelling. There you will find not only paintings, but compelling photography, sculpture, and jewelry as well, all by local and regional artists of renown.
There aren’t many local artists featured at Four Winds Gallery (709 Bay St., 843/379-5660, www.fourwindstraders.com , Mon.–Wed. and Sat. 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Thurs. 10:30 a.m.–7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–4 p.m.), but it’s a great place to find religious folk art from around the world, from wooden African tribal votives to Orthodox icons from Greece.
A few blocks from Bay Street is a fun local favorite, the Longo Gallery (103 Charles St., 843/522-8933, Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m.). Friendly owners Suzanne and Eric Longo provide a whimsical assortment of less traditional art than you might find in the more touristy waterfront area. Take Charles Street as it works its way toward the waterfront, and the gallery is right behind a storefront on the corner of Charles and Bay Streets.
You’ll find perhaps the area’s best-known gallery over the bridge on St. Helena Island. Known regionally as one of the best places to find Gullah  folk art, Red Piano Too (870 Sea Island Parkway, 843/838-2241, www.redpianotoo.com , Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m.) is on the corner before you turn onto the road to the historic Penn Center . Over 150 artists from a diverse range of traditions and styles are represented in this charming little 1940 building with the red tin awning, historically significant in its own right because it once hosted a produce cooperative that was the first store in the area to pay African Americans with cash rather than barter for goods.