10 Regional Galleries to Hit Up Over Winter
Are you planning a family day trip in the not-so-distant future? Naturally, we’ll be the first to say it’s a perfect opportunity to visit an art gallery! Not only do galleries provide young ones with new perspectives; they also offer quality time, no screens attached. Here are our top ten regional galleries across Australia to add to your hit list for those essential day trips.
1. Bendigo Art Gallery, Vic
Housing one of Australia’s oldest and largest regional art galleries puts Bendigo on the map for the perfect day trip out of Melbourne. Bendigo Art Gallery was founded in 1887 and has earned itself a reputation for its innovative displays, such as the upcoming SOUL fury exhibition.
2. The Art Gallery of Ballarat, Vic
The heritage-listed skeleton of the Art Gallery of Ballarat was established in 1884, making it one of Australia’s oldest purpose-built galleries. The gallery is home to over 11,000 artworks (yes, you read that correctly) and is now a unique blend of the original build and contemporary, complementary extensions.
3. Geelong Gallery, Vic
Sat aside Geelong’s cool urban precincts and cute beach front is Geelong Gallery. Another of Australia’s oldest regional galleries, this gallery is a must-see if you’re heading for a day away from Melbourne’s hustle and bustle. In partnership with Geelong Arts Centre, the gallery ran a number of outreach workshops across the region for students in primary school with First Nations artists and educators. Through stories, dance and an art-making activity, students explored the theme of water and connection to Country from a First Nations perspective. The works produced are now on display in Geelong Gallery’s Learn Space and represent students’ own personal connection and creative response to the theme of water using ochre paint.
4. Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, NSW
Australian painter Margaret Olley barely needs an introduction. The architecturally award-winning Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre holds tribute to her legacy. Olley attended primary school in the local area, Murwillumbah, which is located in a green caldera in North Coast NSW’s creative Tweed area. “We’ve got a beautiful building – the setting is extraordinary, the landscape really is amazing,” says director Susi Muddiman OAM. The gallery sits on a hillside outside of town overlooking Wollumbin (Mt Warning). Catch Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series currently on exhibition until August this year.
5. New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, NSW
Inside the walls of NERAM you’ll find perhaps the most comprehensive overview of Australian art history within regional Australia. The New England Regional Art Museum was built to house the Howard Hinton Collection, which boasts over 1000 pieces by some of Australia’s most celebrated artists – including Brett Whiteley, Margaret Preston and Arthur Streeton.
6. Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Qld
Located in Townsville, Queensland, the Perc (pronounced purse) Tucker Regional Gallery has established an overall long-term theme of The Tropics for its permanent collection, which is reflected also in the Gallery’s exhibitions, education and public relations programs. This theme allows itself to be broadly interpreted by the gallery’s visitors, combining contemporary and historical art of Tropical Queensland, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and contemporary art from Papua New Guinea.
7. Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG), Launceston, Tas
Two sites make up Launceston’s QVMAG: the 1891 Royal Park Art Gallery building on Wellington Street and the 1870s-era railway workshop at Inveresk. Get a loaded dose of both the city’s creativity and its local history and character in one hit! Currently on show is the powerful reclamation project and world-first collaboration, Wrapped in Culture, in which 10 Indigenous artists from Australia and Canada created a buffalo robe and a possum skin cloak. The exhibition previously toured Canada and will be on display until 18th July at QVMAG.
8. Geraldton Regional Art Gallery (GRAG), WA
The seaside town of Geraldton is fast becoming a trendy beach escape; why not balance out the beach bum life of Champion Beach with the town’s local arts hub? In a turn-of-the-century Town Hall building, Geraldton Regional Art Gallery is a haven of arts and culture in WA’s Mid West. The permanent collection is home to works by some of WA’s most renowned artists.
9. Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, NT
In truth, Alice Springs is laden with cultural activities and hotspots for the arts. Araluen Arts Centre gets the gold for its surreal surroundings; located in the middle of a desert, it is considered by many as the visual art and performance hub of Central Australia. Find works by the well-known watercolour artist Albert Namatjira along with a widespread collection of the area’s diverse talent and vitality. The centre hosts the nationally noteworthy Desert Mob exhibition, which presents contemporary Indigenous art from the NT, WA and SA.
10. Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery, SA
On the doorstep of South Australia’s outback and Flinders Ranges, you’ll find the old seaport town of Port Pirie. The regional gallery here began life in the old baggage room of the closed local railway station. In 1994, it moved into its dedicated gallery home, within eyesight of the Southern Flinders Rangers. Naturally, much of the Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery collection includes pieces from artists local to the area and further afield that honour this landscape.