BEHIND the facade of every building, monument and street is a fragment of Newport’s history and culture.

You only have to take a stroll down the high street to catch a glimpse of Chartist history, or if you’re lucky, the sounds of street musicians and thrill of live theatre.

Although maritime, political and Roman history play their part in Newport’s cultural landscape, its arts scene is equally important.

From annual arts and music festivals and museums commemorating Chartist history to our very own archaeological wonder – the Newport Medieval Ship – there really is so much to offer.

Cultureseekers need only take a short drive to experience the thrills of the Roman History Museum in Caerleon or picturesque beauty of 17th century heritage mansion, Tredegar House.

While many tourists will never forget their first glimpse of the iconic Transporter Bridge, the most exciting element of Newport culture is low-key, understated and right on your doorstep.

Barnabas Arts House, on New Ruperra Street, Newport, is run by Janet Martin, who has been at the forefront of Newport’s arts movement for over thirty years.

Formerly a church, dance hall and printers, the building serves as a multipurpose space aimed at fostering creativity and community in Newport’s arts scene.

From book clubs, live music and studio spaces for practicing artists, to its new exhibition ‘Within These Walls’ showcasing portraits, sculptures and photo montage, the centre is one of Newport's artistic havens.

Another gem, the self-described ‘ultra local arts centre’ Cwtsh, opened in February 2015 and despite its size, it has made a mark on Newport’s scene.

Serving as an example of both preservation and progression, the gallery was the former Stow Hill Library, a building that served the local community from 1940 until its closure in 2013.

Following a successful campaign to keep the library open, the building now functions as a hub of ideas, music, community and most importantly, discovery.

From design workshops, language lessons and history lectures to screenwriting master classes , open mics and film screenings, the centre has built a passionate and committed following.

Literary events are also a staple of Newport’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Murenger House, a spectacular structure established in 1819 and still putting its cosy, communal atmosphere to great use.

From popular ‘Poems and Pints’ nights to its recent Wales Arts Review events, the pub plays host to both new writers finding their feet and established award winning guests.

Grass roots community arts projects are also strong in Newport, helping to develop younger generations while sometimes, reviving aspects of Newport’s history.

From getting youngsters involved in opera with the Operasonic’s project ‘Newport Legends’ ¬to reviving the history of treasured community buildings in Marion Webber's heritage lottery funded ‘A Thousand Voices’ project, there are myriad projects to discover.

Sally Wallis, of community news page Pill Pulse, believes that Newport’s thriving arts scene “may surprise some”.

“Newport has always been very important historically and Newport College of Art had some of the most talented artists as lecturers, both in fine art sculpture and photography and that legacy has continued,” she said.

“I don’t feel that Newport is in the shadow of Cardiff, there is a different feel to Newport’s artistic culture and there always has been. It’s always been more anarchic.

“I think this is because of Newport Art College’s history of pushing boundaries and encouraging students to explore art without feeling that they have to pursue popular trends.”

“I think this has permeated the arts scene in Newport and I would like to see art and culture in Newport continues to push boundaries and make people think,” she added.

When it comes to theatre and performing arts, Newport has a strong offering, especially in the beloved Dolman Theatre, a venue run by the Newport Playgoers Society.

The theatre puts on nine plays a year, fosters youth theatre and allows visiting companies to hire the venue ¬– mostly amateur productions with an occasional professional company.

As a popular event on the calendar, the ‘Big Splash’ invites pop-up theatre, arts and family-friendly to swamp Newport, with circus spectacle and wacky characters galore.

Standing proud along the banks of the River Usk are two of Newport’s biggest arts venues, ‘The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre’ and the ‘Newport Arts Centre’.

The Riverfront is Newport’s only presenting theatre and arts centre and has two theatre spaces, three visual arts gallery spaces, dance studios, recording studios and more.

Just over the road, the Newport Centre is the place to see national touring acts, from Paolo Nutini and Elbow to Newport’s very own metal heroes, Skindred.

In terms of music heritage, Newport also houses one of the UK’s most legendary music venues ‘TJs’ , a former symbol of the city’s formerly burgeoning music scene.

In its time the venue was home to everyone from Oasis, Stone Roses and Muse to Catatonia and Manic Street Preachers and despite being damaged by fire, its legacy lives on in today’s music scene.

A prominent example of this is ‘Le Pub’ – a true alternative venue hosting punk, hardcore, electronic bands and everything in between.

While Newport’s 1990s music scene may be a blur for some, Newport-born filmmaker Nathan Jennings hopes to preserve its memory for new generations in a feature documentary.

Using TJs as a focal point, the documentary will examine the past, present and future of Newport and is set to promote our city to a wider audience.

Newport also has its fair share of silver screen alumni, from Hollywood actor Michael Sheen to Newport Film School graduate Asif Kapadia – who won an Oscar for his film about Amy Winehouse ‘Amy’.

Newport City Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, Deb Harvey, believes our city offers an “endless list” of places to explore heritage, arts and culture.

Newport West AM, Jayne Bryant, added the arts scene is “really exciting” following her attendance at an event at a poetry event at the Murenger pub.

“I’m involved with the Wales Arts Review and the Caerleon Arts Festival and there is always plenty going on,” she said.

“I also grew up in the 1990s here so I know about the music scene with TJs which was renowned across Britain.”

“I would like to make sure that Newport continues that music and cultural heritage which people don’t often see,” she added.

Newport East AM, John Griffiths, also testifies to the “strength of Newport’s culture and history” and believes Newport has a “very strong present day offering with a good balance.”

“If you look at Newport as a whole you would see a very strong cultural history, a very strong present day cultural offer and a thriving arts scene,” he said.

“Barnabas House is really interesting where they put on lots of exhibitions and we have the museum which is ideally placed now with Friars Walk.

“It’s nice to see a lot of pubs doing open mics and poetry readings, from the Murenger to the Pen and Wig and Le Pub of course and there used to be some really good jazz in the Riverside Tavern.”

He added: “As a political representative I’m lucky enough to be invited see theatre performances by Newport’s schools and that really strong theatre feeds into the Dolman and other theatre groups.

“When I see the quality of the school’s performances I think that the future of arts and culture in Newport is assured.”

While Newport’s arts scene may be hidden, it remains as stronger than ever, carried aloft by the dedication, passion and talent of many groups and individuals.

For culture vultures looking for their latest fix, Newport is perfect place to dive in.

So give it a try. You may be surprised by what you discover.