Beginners Guide to Art Galleries Around Melbourne

So you would like to check out some original art. But don’t know where to start. It can be a little overwhelming for a newbie. What art galleries should I visit?

You may have a day or a half day set aside to meander through some galleries. It’s a good idea to start with a plan and map out where you are going to go. It’s not uncommon to have a cluster of galleries in one area, so you can see 3 or 4 in close proximity. You could easily plan on seeing 10 exhibitions on the one day.

Don’t be too caught up in what type of art you like or want to see. It’s best to be open to the experience. Some exhibitions you will like, others not so much. You may find the art work you fall in love with and have to have on your wall!

But where to start? We have complied a list of 10 Art Galleries to check out and enjoy.

Australian Galleries – 35 Derby Street Collingwood – Operating since 1956, This gallery has showcased some significant contemporary artists. On their website, look up Mary Tonkin, John Wolesly, Dale Cox, Tim Jones or G.W Bot. There are many others, but these are a few of my favourites.

James Makin Gallery – 67 Cambridge Street Collingwood – Since 2003 James and his team have put on some exquisite exhibitions, each time I walk in the door I really don’t know what I will see, usually I get pleasantly surprised. Check out these artists on their website, Godwin Bradbeer, Marcel Cousins, Nick Plowman, Jasper Knight, Carla Fletcher.

Tacit Galleries – 123a Gipps Street Collingwood – In this spot since 2013, this multi space gallery is a stunning example of what two people can do with some vision and a solid following of up and coming as well as well heeled artists. Say hi to Keith, tell him Steve sent you :), He has no idea who I am 😉 This space is incredible, not just for the amount of works they can hold, but for the amount of change that takes place every few weeks with so many spaces to fill! Check out the works of… T.J. Bateson, Christine Gibbs, Terry Beer, Linda Weil, Graham McKenzie, Irene Wellm. Just to name a few! If you only have time to get to one gallery, this is it for sheer variety.

Sutton Gallery – 254 Brunswick Street Fitzroy- In a very busy shopping precinct with fab cafes etc. If you get a park 😉 the big heavy doors hide all manner of earthly delights, two spaces, with daring installations to more traditional works occasionally. Take a deep breath before entering, you never know what you will see here. Gordon Bennett, Sara Hughes, David Rosetzky, Jane Trengrove.

Niagra Galleries – 245 Punt Road Richmond – There’s parking out the back to ease your mind about this gallery’s location. A delightful space with an array of artists in their stable. Check out Euan Heng, Julie Dowling, Rick Amor, Helen Maudsley, Richard Larter. On two levels so you usually get two artists on show.

Sophie Gannon Gallery – 2 Albert Street Richmond – Easier for parking than some galleries, Sophie and team have a welcoming, warmly lit position. Tell the guy on the desk I sent  you 🙂 he knows my face and probably remembers me as the ‘guy from Geelong’… but then again… Ok you will see some more fab art and artists here, try… John Nicholson, Julia Deville, Guy Maestri, Huseyin Sami, Martin Smith.

Arc One – 45 Flinders Lane Melbourne – Near trendy Collins street, surrounded by skyscrapers and a cafe. Usually I get to drop in for a brief lo0ok when I can get a parking spot. Artists, Murray Fredericks, Pat Brassington, Guan Wei, Peter Daverington, Julie Rrap.

45 Downstairs – 45 Flinders Lane Melbourne – As the name suggests they are downstairs… A big space and a smaller project space complete with a theatre. Artists, yep… Josh Dykgraff, Alex Zubryn many others, but their website offered little insight.

Buxton Contemporary Gallery – Cnr Southbank Blvd and Dodds Street South Melbourne – More of a Museum than a gallery, wait that seems strange… No, that’s what their website says. A HUGE thankyou to Micahel Buxton for creating the collection and then having the foresight to create the gallery! Such an exceptional gift for people who love Visual Art. The exhibition space is on two levels and changes every few months. Stunning works by amazing artists, hand picked works by the Buxtons, nice! 

Gallerysmith – 170-174 Abbotsford Street, North Melbourne – Started in 2008, Marita Smith has developed a solid following of artists, collectors and curators over that time, one main space and a smaller project space. Easy to park, just around the corner. Drop in and see… Jennifer Goodman, Catherine Nelson, Andrew Seward, Dadang Christiano, Wilma Tabacco, Clinton Naina.

I could have also featured… Anna Pappas – Flinders Lane Gallery – Stephen McLaughlin – Five Walls – Sarah Scout Presents – Tolarno – Scott Livesey – Fox galleries – Nicholas Thopson – Tristan Koenig – Lindberg Galleries and oh so many more.

Every three weeks or so these galleries will put up a new exhibition of works and repeat the process three weeks later. This means you can get around the art galleries and repeat the process ever three weeks and see fresh works. Think about that, because if there are 20 or so notably active galleries in Melbourne, then you can see a lot of art.

There are more… MANY more galleries to check out, from Artist run initiatives to commercial galleries. I have aimed for galleries which are closer in to Melbourne and sure to give the new art viewer something to consider as well as the seasoned arties who want to ‘goss’ on where to go to get their art fix 🙂

Happy Gallery crawling 🙂


Steve Gray – Artist, Picture Framer and writer.

Since posting this article we have opened up our space to include an art gallery. To view our current exhibitions visit our website C & H Gallery.

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