Adelaide has been dubbed the City of Festivals, and that lively cultural scene is on full display inside the walls of its many art galleries. Culture vultures, here are 10 spots you need to add to your itinerary when you visit the South Australian capital.
This establishment isn’t only South Australia’s finest collection of art, it’s also one of the most striking buildings on Adelaide’s leafy North Terrace, neighbouring the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Museum. The Art Gallery of SA houses a huge collection of more than 40,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, sketches, photographs, textiles and design works from all over the world, attracting almost one million visitors every year.
Named after the local Indigenous Kaurna word meaning ‘place of the red kangaroo’, Tandanya is the oldest Aboriginal-owned and operated arts centre in Australia, let alone Adelaide. Located in a handsome building on Grenfell St in the East End, the gallery has been telling the stories of Australia’s First Peoples since 1989, as well as hosting a busy program of community events and interactive exhibits.
Occupying the ultra-modern Hawke Building of the University of South Australia’s city west campus, the Samstag Museum is named after a former UniSA professor who bequeathed a number of art scholarships to the university following his death in 1991. Today, the gallery is one of the top university art museums in the country, priding itself on an envelope-pushing program of cutting-edge exhibitions.
This is another university gallery worth visiting, with a city gallery on North Terrace as well as an appointment-only museum on campus in Bedford Park. FUAM maintains the university’s extensive collection of historic and contemporary art, curating a dynamic program of eight exhibitions per year.
The space formerly known as the Greenaway Art Gallery was established in a stylishly converted Kent Town warehouse in 1991 before expanding abroad in 2008 and opened a second venue in Berlin. The objective of director Paul Greenaway has always been to promote the very best local talent, helping to connect promising contemporary artists with institutions and private collectors.
You can’t miss the yellow paint oozing out of the windows of the Lion Arts Centre in the West End of Adelaide, giving visitors a hint of the artistic creations that lie within its four walls. ACE Open provides the best space in Adelaide to showcase emerging and established contemporary artists, embracing a diverse array of creatives throughout its year-round program of free exhibitions.
The Lion Arts Centre is also home to the artists’ collective known as Nexus Arts, which advocates for the inclusion of culturally and linguistically diverse artists. The collective was born in 1984 as the Multicultural Arts Workers Committee, and today gives community groups the opportunity to present their visual arts, performances and special projects in a quality inner-city space.
This custom-built studio educates some of Australia’s most promising up-and-coming designers in the areas of ceramics, glass, furniture, jewellery and metalwork, and the stylish exhibition space showcased plenty of their finest creations. The JamFactory has a gallery in Adelaide just off North Terrace, as well as Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley.
This not-for-profit gallery is located within the Adelaide Central School of Art, giving students valuable contact with a professional artists, writers and curators. The Graduate Exhibition is the highlight of the Adelaide Central Gallery’s program, presenting the best pieces produced by all of the school’s graduating Bachelor of Visual Art and Honours students.
Elegant would be the word to describe this Pirie St establishment, which is made up of two separate exhibiting spaces — the light-filled ground floor and the upstairs gallery — that hosts 12 exhibitions a year as well as an emerging artists program. HSG opened its doors in 1982 and has successfully given the gallery’s represented artists a link to discerning collectors ever since.