Just one of the perks of living in Melbourne is enjoying the thriving arts scene we have. Some may argue it’s Sydney, but many Melburnians proudly consider Melbourne to be Australia’s cultural capital. Wander down some of the streets and alleyways of the CBD, and you’ll find an array of captivating street art.
With a lively art scene in Melbourne comes dozens of world-class art galleries to visit. After you’ve spent days exploring everything on display at the National Gallery of Victoria, you’ll find plenty of other diverse art locations. Art is truly alive in Melbourne with galleries that exhibit anything from classical and contemporary paintings to sculptures and photography.
Read on to discover more Melbourne art galleries and find some inspiration for your next day trip!
1. Australian Centre For Contemporary Art (ACCA)
Since 1983, the ACCA has been one of Melbourne’s leading contemporary art locations. Situated in the arts precinct of Southbank, the centre is designed to encourage curiosity and transformation. Wander around the local area, and you’ll notice the building’s unique geometric shape and iconic red-rust exterior.
The art space plays host to a number of exhibitions, theatrical performances, screenings, and lectures throughout the year. Visit the official ACCA website, and you’ll discover a full schedule of events that feature works from local and international artists. The centre has become a champion of new art and bold ideas. So if you’re a huge fan of contemporary art that really pushes boundaries, make the ACCA your first stop.
2. National Gallery Of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria holds the bragging rights of being Australia’s oldest popular art museum. Located on St Kilda Road, in Southbank, the gallery is just a short walk or tram ride from Flinders Street Station. At the entrance of the gallery you’ll be greeted by the sight of its elaborate waterwall. This water feature utilises recycled water from the gallery’s roof, which circulates through a sophisticated moat system.
The gallery plays host to temporary exhibitions throughout the year like the recent terracotta warriors collection or the Van Gogh And The Seasons exhibition from 2017. The gallery also boasts an impressive permanent collection of artwork from world-renowned artists including Rembrandt, Bonnard, and Tiepolo.
With so many areas to explore, it would be easy to spend an entire day at the National Gallery. To fuel your appetite for fine food, the gallery is home to The Tea Room, which serves high tea and the Garden Restaurant that offers seasonal menu items.
3. Centre For Contemporary Photography
Not all great art comes in the form of a painted canvas. Art captured from the view of a lens can be just as captivating! Located in Fitzroy, The Centre for Contemporary Photography plays host to work from new and established photographers. The centre is home to five gallery spaces including a night projection window that you can view from the street at night.
Across all five exhibition spaces, you’ll find stunning examples of local, interstate, and international photography. If you’re an aspiring photographer, you’ll be pleased to know the centre also hosts photography workshop sessions throughout the year. These sessions give you an intimate look at how photographic artists hone their skills and go about their practices.
4. Blindside Gallery
If you are more passionate about contemporary art, then head on over to the Blindside Gallery. Located in the historic Nicholas Building on Swanston street, the gallery offers some spectacular views of Federation Square and Flinders Street. Inside you’ll find curated exhibits that could feature sculptures, drawings, performance art, and video. So when you visit the Blindside Gallery, be prepared to ‘expect the unexpected’.
In addition to local artists, the gallery takes great pride in supporting arts writers. You’ll find critical texts from writers that contextualise the work for all the exhibitions in the gallery. Head to the Blindside Gallery’s official website to discover what new and exciting exhibits are on their way.
5. Metro Gallery
Don’t have the patience to wander around the Melbourne CBD looking for street art? Consider paying a visit to the Metro Gallery instead. The Metro first rose to fame by bringing some of Melbourne’s best street art into a more formal gallery setting. Today you’ll find a generous mix of art across various mediums. The gallery displays art from a healthy mix of Australian and international locations.
Located on High street in Armadale, the gallery has featured works from prominent artists including Michael Johnson, Tommy Watson, John Olsen, and plenty more! Work from promising and emerging artists also makes its way into the Metro Gallery. With a wide variety of pieces on display, this art space remains fluid with new exhibitions on an almost weekly basis.
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