The Bett Gallery was founded by the late Dick Bett, who emigrated over the Tasman Sea from Wellington to found the eponymous facility in 1985. He took it upon himself to establish his commercial venture as a champion of contemporary artwork. For him, the business minded side of the scene was very much a two way street, offering artists the chance to earn a wage from their work and thus evolve. He explained that his job was to “Identify talent, nurture talent; identify clients, nurture clients; build artistic practice, build the quality of the collector … the system gets better … it’s very achievable.” The legacy Bett left behind in Hobart is one of a successful gallery with a stable contingent of productive artists.
Contemporary Art Tasmania (CAT) has been operating under multiple names for over 20 years, becoming the premier public platform for contemporary and experimental art in the state. As the organization has evolved, it has become an incorporated Australian public company with a Board of Management that can invite new artists to partake in a structure and programme that aids their development. CAT is an exciting institution on the local arts scene, offering mentoring, educational opportunities and gallery space in which visitors can experience cutting edge exhibitions of up-and-coming visual artists.
Contemporary Art Tasmania, 27 Tasma Street, North Hobart, Australia, +61 3 6231 0445
The Despard Gallery, located on Hobart’s lingering esplanade, is a pleasurable showcase of contemporary fine arts with constantly changing exhibitions of local artists. The quality of work on display is exceptional and the sparse but warm interior allows the canvases to take center stage. The aspect that will potentially bring the greatest delight to visitors is the sight of the stockroom, replete with evocative and curious pieces that can be brought back home.
Despard Gallery, 15 Castray Esplanade, Tasmania, Australia +61 3 6223 8266
Salamanca Arts Centre is the popular, but never populist, hub of Tasmanian arts, proclaiming itself to be the “engine room for art-making and presentation.” The center plays host to many of the state’s eminent performance, literary and artistic organizations. Back in the 1890s, when the buildings were first constructed, they housed the new fuel for economic and civic growth – the jam and preserve factories which arrived after the inglorious, failing industries on the Old Wharf. The Center houses a number of artists in studios, ranging from potters to painters, as well as curating major exhibitions of local and international artists.
Salamanca Arts Centre, 77 Salamanca Pl, Hobart, Australia, +61 3 6234 8414