Art lives here because artists live here!
The Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges and Nillumbik are home to thriving artist hubs and works of art that will stay with you. You might be surprised to know that there are 22 galleries you can visit today in the region and every one of them is worth the trip. Some support local artists, other showcase national and international exhibitions. Some have commanding views of sweeping vineyards, others nestle quietly in secluded woodland villages. Some galleries offer fine dining and fabulous local wines, while others are hosts to working artists-in-residence, or take exhibit in a stunning outdoor setting. Across all genres and mediums, this region is both a destination and a home for art lovers, and all those who admire real beauty.
Here is your go-to list and some highlights for your next ‘art trail’. Take a few days and immerse yourself in a unique world that speaks of the stunning landscape of the region and those who walk on it.
Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen – An inspiring experience of art, architecture, gardens and social history. Wander the sculpture park, visit the monthly Makers Market, and take in a wide range of ever-changing gallery collections from all over the world (and many recognisable names). Heide is an experience, an indulgence and a peek into the story of many Australian artists who have defined our art world.
Montsalvat, Eltham – An artist colony since the 1930s, this inspiring site has artists-in-residence, several galleries featuring artists from all over the world and workshops, festivals and classes. Stunning stone buildings add to the charm.
Wadambuk Arts Space, St Andrews – Features local artists, retrospectives and exhibitions revealing local history and people.
Michael Wilson Gallery, Eltham – Stunning architecturally designed workshop and gallery, and home to a sparkling collection of diamond and gemstone jewellery.
Eltham Library Community Gallery, Eltham – A community gallery featuring works by local artists in a heritage building.
Nillumbik Shire Art Collection – Includes outdoor art and sculpture in public places and memorabilia. Collections by emerging, mid-career and established artists of the region. More than 400 works including 16 public sculptures.
TarraWarra Museum of Art, Yarra Glen – Seasonally changing exhibitions within an award-winning building set in the rolling hills of the natural landscape. Over 70 themed exhibitions have been presented at the Museum to date, covering a diverse range of stimulating and innovative Australian and international art in group and collection shows and single artist surveys. The gallery to see contemporary and modern art by international and national artists. (PS –the Archibald Prize exhibition will return to TarraWarra from September 2019)
Yering Station Art Gallery, Yarra Glen – Yering Station’s contemporary arts program encompasses painting, photography, textiles and sculpture with exhibitions featuring a diverse range of artists (established and emerging) capturing the synergy between wine and art in two galleries. Home also to the Yering Station Sculpture Exhibition and awards annually.
MiRA, Marysville – MiRA (Marysville Information + Regional Artspace) offers friendly tourist information, an exciting gallery, the famous Phoenix Museum as well as a retail space stocking locally made artisan wares and produce. Inspiring exhibitions, performances and creative workshops, all surrounded by Marysville’s stunning natural beauty.
Bruno’s Art and Sculpture Garden, Marysville – A paradise for art and garden lovers alike. Since the February 2009 fires, Bruno has rebuilt his home and gallery. The garden has blossomed and his terracotta life size sculptures have been restored. His surviving paintings and new works can be seen in the unique new gallery space.
Yarra Valley Arts Gallery, Healesville – The region’s newest gallery is home to a collective of more than 60 Yarra Valley Artists and will host displays of members works (also for sale) and visiting exhibitions. The arts space will also hold workshops and opportunities to ‘meet the maker’. Opens April 2019)
The Memo, Healesville – Set in an iconic main street building and host to a fabulous range of cultural activities, the gallery space features regular exhibitions of local and touring artworks. A local treasure.
Art at Linden Gate, Yarra Glen – The stunning art gallery, with views over the Great Dividing Range, showcases the larger outdoor sculpture of “artist in residence” Ernst Fries, while the gallery holds regularly changing exhibitions by other artists.
Sandra Bardas Art Gallery at Worawa College, Healesville – This gallery showcases authentic and affordable Aboriginal art produced by students of Worawa College and the communities they come from. Reflecting stories of community, family and land, the designs of wonderfully expressive paintings are incorporated into fabric patterns and displayed alongside original costume jewellery.
Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, Lilydale – Home to a stellar local history exhibition on permanent display, and a regional destination for national and international touring exhibitions of note. Make sure you check out the public art piece - Millkulture, which brings new understanding to art on the walls!
Upper Yarra Arts Centre, Warburton – A cultural hub by the Yarra River, this gallery hosts 6-7 exhibitions per year, featuring unique and thought-provoking works by mixed media artists in the region.
Waterwheel Gallery, Warburton – With an exclusive focus on local artists, new works every three weeks, and a Handmade shop where you can buy direct from local artist and handmakers, this iconic gallery is a bustling destination on the main street. See also the ‘Great Steps’ community mosaic and the totem pole art in the gardens.
Sherbrooke Art Gallery, Belgrave – Home to theSherbrooke Art Society and founded in 1966, the Art Gallery has a constantly changing display of around 300 works for sale. The Society also runs workshops and classes and hosts numerous exhibitions including the renowned Streeton Roberts McCubbin Exhibition, Spring Exhibition, Small Packages Exhibition and Artist of the Year Exhibition.
Burrinja Cultural Centre, Upwey – A vibrant community cultural centre that encompasses arts activities and events, Indigenous gallery, collection and cultural education, contemporary arts gallery, performing arts, artist studios, live music, workshops and café.
William Ricketts Sanctuary, Mt Dandenong – A stunning sanctuary that boasts unique hand sculptures in a tranquil rainforest setting with sealed footpaths. Walk the sanctuary while being welcomed by the sound of rosellas and unseen wildlife. Discover William Ricketts face embodied in numerous sculptures - a testimony to the inspiration, beauty and community that Ricketts shared with the local Aboriginal people.
Kapi Art Space, Kalorama – A studio gallery where you can explore, create, learn, connect, perform, dream, and come alive. Collections by inhouse artists and students on display and for sale.
Red Earth Gallery, Mooroolbark – Home to local art and cultural activities, the gallery showcases talent from the region and hosts a wide range of art classes so you can get hands-on too.
*Exhibitions are changed over regularly so always check with the gallery to confirm opening dates and times.
If visiting an artist in their studios is appealing, then check out the calendar for Open Studios 2019 across the region:
Download our Art Lives Here trail map and plan your weekend or midweek getaway!