How to appreciate regional art galleries . . .

I sent this blog post out into the world last week but have since had a lovely update on discovering art once you’re out of the big smoke. I received in the mail (how nice to actually have something delivered by the postman) a little booklet/brochure of Renaissance Tours Summer and Autumn 2021 cultural tours.

Lately I have heard people lament that they can’t travel overseas and that they can only take their holidays in Australia. Well, a big bloody ‘boohoo’ to them. This vast, beautiful, strange and curious country has so much to indulge in. And away from the action-packed adventures to be had there’s a wealth of cultural experiences that are up for grabs that are introduced via special itineraries with Renaissance Tours.

Two took my eye that almost matched up with my piece below.

Regional Galleries of New South Wales – Orange, Bathurst and the Blue Mountains from 18-23 April, 2021. Highlights include meeting local artists in their studios, having a private guided tour of the significant Orange Regional Gallery and there’s a visit to an award-winning cellar door for a wine tasting – well, art does make one thirsty.

And there’s another one, Art Galleries of Regional Victoria – Bendigo, Ballarat and the NGV Ian Potter Centre for 18-23 April 2021.

And others are calling me too – William Morris in Adelaide, 11-17 April 2021; New Art Spaces of Tasmania, 26 April to 5 May, 2021 and there are garden tours, ancient landscapes and sacred sites to view, a music festival, Opera in the Yarra Valley, Northern Rivers Food Trail and many more cultural delights to uncover and discover in Australia.

For more information email: info@renaissancetours.com.au and http://renaissancetours.com.au

Drive, stop, look . . .

Regional art galleries throughout Australia offer a vital contribution to the community’s cultural life. Emerging artists are promoted and travelling exhibitions will see works by artists that are of the highest quality and internationally recognised. If you are lucky enough to catch the gallery’s curator, there’s the opportunity for a yarn about local artists, local history and perhaps a bit of council gossip. Whomever is working at the gallery shop (wonderful for gifts) is a wealth of local info too. Take your credit card with you as this is where you might snap up the next Dobell, Blackwell, Margaret Preston or Grace Cossington Smith.

Here are a few worth putting on the wish list:

  • Bega Valley Regional Art Gallery, Bega on the far south coast of NSW;
  • Meroogal House, Meroogal, Nowra, South Coast NSW, a gothic-style house where four generations of women lived until the 1980s when it became a museum of domestic life;
  • Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre, Murwillumbah, northern NSW;
  • Bathurst Regional Gallery, Bathurst, central west NSW;
  • Bendigo (pictured) and Ballarat in Victoria are the heavyweights of regional galleries. Travelling exhibitions, Lyndsay family works, the Eureka Flag – both stunning and worth a slow walk round the rooms;
  • The Aboriginal Art House, Hahndorf, SA.  The gallery has a wide range of Indigenous art and artefacts along with explanations of the various symbols in the artworks.
  • Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm on the Dampier Peninsula far north Western Australia, has a stunning pearls on exhibit and pearl shell carvings ‘Riji” by Indigenous Bardi men.
  • Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, WA is housed in a peachy-pink heritage building.
  • Stanthorpe Regional Gallery, in the Granite Belt, Qld is a new building with exciting exhibitions – and indeed, prospects.

It’s not regional, only a few kms from Hobart but MONA in Tassie is one of the most provocative and exciting galleries in Australia. Go for the experience and go with an open mind.

The most exciting thing to happen in the regional art world is the advent of Wall art and Silo Art. Towns such as Benalla in north east Victoria has an annual Wall art festival which see the town all buzzy and beautiful welcoming the cream of young artists painting walls. And their biggest fans are the Baby Boomers who travel the towns and are familiar with the artists’ work, talk to them and are encouraging. The Silo Art Trail in Victoria shows stunning work done on the high, decommissioned silos. Often the paintings are of local farmers representing the legacy of those on the land.

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