Melbourne is known in Australia as the city of culture and arts. Whilst this cultural city has much to offer, it is worth visiting just for the diverse art scene.
Boasting 100 plus galleries, there's a mixture of large public institutions and smaller private commercial galleries as well as public art to be spotted throughout the city. If planning a trip, book your Melbourne accommodation close to public transport as the galleries are dispersed throughout the city. Melbourne CBD hotels are generally a good central location to stay. A stroll through the CBD may surprise you with some public art.
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is Australia's oldest and prominent public art museum featuring one of the world's finest art collections. Treasures from ancient Egypt, Europe and indigenous cultures can be found here. A gallery space is dedicated to thousands of Asian art works, while fashion, textiles, photography, furniture and sculpture await discovery.
Located in Melbourne's art precinct, this steel landmark is not only a leading contemporary art gallery but also one of Melbourne's architectural icons. The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) brings the latest and most challenging artworks by living artists from around the world to the Melbourne art scene and also commissions new artworks by local artists. In fact, ACCA is a big supporter of contemporary artists, being the only major public art gallery in Australia placing a stronger focus on commissioning over collecting.
The State Library of Victoria is much more than a magnificent building with a collection of over 2 million books, hundreds of thousands of pictures, newspapers, manuscripts and digital material, it is home to 3 free art galleries. These gallery spaces showcase artworks by Australian professional and amateur artists, including, paintings, drawings and prints from Victorian history.
Commercial or private galleries
Anna Schwartz Gallery represents well respected contemporary artists as well as young and upcoming artists. The Anna Schwartz gallery represents prestige in the Australian contemporary art scene, holding 12 shows a year in a mixture of mediums it is not to be missed.
Art Yarramunua Gallery is the place to go to experience indigenous Australian art. 100% Aboriginal owned and operated, the unique paintings are pursued by collectors all over the world. Displaying paintings from Aboriginal communities as far as Top End, central Australia desert artists, down to NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
Fortyfivedownstairs is an urban space offering a mix of theatre, visual arts, music and dance events. This cultural powerhouse is a not-for-profit organisation and supports emerging, independent, experimental and thought-provoking artists. In this old brick building features a theatre and two gallery spaces, establishing itself as one of Melbourne's most renowned creative hubs.
The Twenty By Thirty gallery is a unique artists-run initiative showcasing works of all mediums. The name Twenty By Thirty does not refer to metres, this small exhibition cabinet has a new exhibition every month and is also known for being available 24-7.
CIty Lights Project takes dark alleys and turns them into galleries by installing lightboxes along the walls of laneway walls. Take a stroll through city streets at night time to experience these illuminating works around Centre Place and Hosier Ln.
Take the Art from the City Circle tram ride or walk through the city laneways along Yarra River to experience the street art scene in Melbourne.
The Three Businessmen whimsical sculpture of Melbourne's three pioneers is located on the corner of Swanston and Bourke Streets, they stand, on their lunch break watching as the city moves by.
La Trobe street is home to the artwork 'Architectural Fragment' outside one of the city's oldest buildings. The sculpture is a reminder of the past and the constant growth and change of this city.
Very suitably placed is 'Public Purse' in Bourke Street Mall, reflecting the bustling retail stores in the area.
Where is your favourite place to experience art in Melbourne?
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