Just a ninety-minute drive west from Melbourne, Ballarat is the perfect location for creative spirits looking for a regional getaway. Recognised as one of UNESCO’s Creative Cities for its world-class crafts and folk art, Ballarat is full of local artists committed not only to showcasing their incredible work, but also to engaging with visitors and passing on their skills.
If you want to immerse yourself in Ballarat’s diverse art world, we recommend you stop by these gorgeous galleries to get your creative fix.
As the oldest and largest regional gallery in Australia, the Art Gallery of Ballarat has been the centre of Ballarat’s evolving art scene for over 130 years. In that time, they’ve amassed a huge collection of works for use in their permanent and temporary exhibits, which often focus on themes like Home, Country, Belief, and Disruption.
Never satisfied with their collection alone, the Art Gallery of Ballarat also constantly features new works from artists locally and beyond. Right now, they’re hosting the travelling exhibition Robyn Stacey: As still as life, featuring still life photography by Australian artist Robyn Stacey alongside the work of thirty-five other photographers. The Gallery is also running their annual Next Gen exhibition, highlighting the incredible work of local high school students in sculpture, graphic design, photography, and textiles.
A short walk from the Ballarat Train Station, the Art Gallery of Ballarat is free to visit, though they are currently working with a pre-booked ticketing system in order to meet COVID regulations. It’s a great starting place for anyone wanting to explore the culture Ballarat has to offer.
Husband-and-wife duo Corina and Jack Wyatt opened WYATT Art to share their contemporary expressionist paintings with the world. Corina’s works are a ‘kaleidoscope of colour and texture’ that typically play with abstract images, while Jack’s more realistic paintings often feature beautifully shaded flowers.
You can purchase Corina and Jack’s one-of-a-kind works from their small gallery space in Grenville Street, but the artists also love getting to meet new visitors, so make sure you stop in to say hello.
Housed in the nineteenth century Masonic Hall, The Lost Ones is a multipurpose establishment that’s all about celebrating the handmade. The venue started as a contemporary gallery in 2015, but has since introduced The Lost Ones Makers Studio, where visitors can meet with local artists to watch them work and even learn some of the craft for themselves.
The Lost Ones also have a Basement Bar, where you can grab a meal, participate in a whiskey tasting, and enjoy live jazz music. The whole venue is designed to highlight the skills and dedication of local artists and musicians while also welcoming beginners into the crafting space.
Tara Poole, Ballarat’s Creative City Coordinator and co-owner of The Lost Ones, describes her venue as ‘a place where you can find something different, unusual and challenging – but at the same time you feel right at home’.
From huge photography exhibits to handcrafted jewellery and live music, Ballarat has a wide range of art showcases to explore. The next time you want to get out and enjoy some creativity, Casper Magazine recommends heading over to Ballarat for a memorable time away.
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