Five reasons to visit Regional Public Galleries

You might already be aware that the regional galleries of NSW bolster and enrich local communities. They support artists and foster economic activity; they actively pull visitors into regions by providing welcome diversions on long trips. Many offer unique destinations in their own right.

But regional galleries offer much more than that. Here's five good reasons to visit:

 

One: Lots of things to do and see

Regional galleries offer a kaleidoscope of vibrant exhibitions and public programming. Deeply connected to local communities, their activities and events tend to be uniquely flavoured by landscape, history and stories from within. Whether you are interested in film programs, hands-on workshops, curated exhibitions, or insight into the inner workings of a local community, a regional gallery is the place to go. 

 

  • Bathurst Regional Art Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Bathurst Regional Art Gallery Front of House II 2009. Photo: Clare Lewis.

  • BVRG Annual Contemporary Indigeneous Exhibition Annual exhibition during NAIDOC every July. Over the last 4 years these exhibitions have included a public program mentoring component

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Bega Valley Regional Gallery. BVRG Annual Contemporary Indigeneous Exhibition. Annual exhibition during NAIDOC every July. Over the last 4 years these exhibitions have included a public program mentoring ...

  • Blue Mountains cultural centre

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Blue Mountains Cultural Centre. Cultural Centre Courtyard. Photography by Robert Walsh.

  • Broken Hill Regional Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Broken Hill Regional Gallery

  • Campbelltown Art Centre

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Campelltown Art Centre. View from the cafe of the Japanese Tea House.

  • Casula Powerhouse Art Centre

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. The Centre has 6 galleries and a 326 seat theatre.

  • Albury Art Gallery redevelopment

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Albury Regional Art Gallery. Redevelopment design showing the new bridge. The Albury Regional Art Gallery in Dean Street is undergoing a $10.5M redevelopment and is expected to re-open by mid ...

  • Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery. Annette Bezor: iconic works, a touring show.

  • Cowra Regional Art Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Cowra Regional Art Gallery. The foyer during the touring 2012 Archibald Exhibition.

 

Two: Touring exhibitions

Regional galleries are also part of a network that presents touring exhibitions Australia-wide. This means you can catch blockbuster shows such as the Archibald Prize as they travel to regional destinations. Regional Galleries themselves also curate and tour major exhibitions of national significance. Originating in the country heart of Tamworth, the Textile Triennial is a nationally renowned overview of major developments in Australian textiles.

View works in modern, uncrowded spaces and participate in associated events and programs, all with easy access and parking.

 

Three: Unique collections

Many regional galleries house unique collections. Revealing stories about significant events in history, some of these collections originate from areas where wealth and industry inspired local benefactors to endow the community with the 'best of art and object' of the day.

Many of these collections have evolved into vibrant repositories of contemporary practice, including work by significant local artists.     

Collection highlights include:

Australian art from the 1950's and the Artists of Hill End – Bathurst Regional Art Gallery

Mary Turner Collection of Australian modernist paintings – Orange Regional Gallery

Nimbin Aquarius Festival Photographic Collection – Lismore Regional Art Gallery

Russell Drysdale Collection – Albury Regional Gallery

Howard Hinton Collection of Victorian travel and Australian Landscape painting – NERAM

Fibre and Textile Collection and the Regan Collection of colonial silverware – Tamworth Regional Gallery

2D and 3D contemporary ceramic and glass Collection – Cowra Regional Gallery

McCulloch Collection (oldest regional gallery collection) and Indigenous landscape works – Broken Hill Regional Gallery

 

  • Gosford Regional Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Japanese gardens at Gosford Regional Gallery & Arts Centre.

  • Grafton Regional Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Grafton Regional Gallery is located at Prentice House.

  • Griffith Regional Art Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Griffith Regional Art Gallery. Opening of the Brett Naseby Exhibition 2012.

  • Goulburn Regional Art Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Goulburn Regional Art Gallery

  • Hawkesbury Regional Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Hawkesbury Regional Gallery. Synthetic Spaces, 2007, Western Front, Contemporary Art from Western Sydney, 2007, various venues, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, installation view, artist Alan Jones (foreground).

  • Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre art classes

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre . Classes cater for all levels of experience. Choose from drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking, jewellery, sculpture, mosaics, digital photography and more.

  • Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery aerial shot

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery. Aerial view of the Sculpture Park. The gallery boasts extensive grounds and a sculpture park ā€“ featured here is one of the first commissions, Hear ...

  • Lismore Regional Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Lismore Regional Gallery. Installation view of Sam Jinks. Body in Time (touring from Shepparton Art Gallery), September 2012.

  • Macquarie University Art Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Macquarie University Art Gallery. Virtual Encounters. Paula Dawson Holograms, 2009, Photography Effy Alexakis, Photowrite.

  • Maitland Regional Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Maitland Regional Art Gallery.

  • Manly Art Gallery & Museum

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Manly Art Gallery & Museum. Bill Leak: Survey 6 December ā€“ 9 February 2014.

 

Four: Inspiring architecture

Many of the older regional galleries occupy heritage buildings that have been carefully restored and renovated to provide classic exhibition halls and galleries.

Other galleries occupy modern custom designed premises that offer much to the visitor whether it be landscaped gardens, breathtaking views or exemplary Australian design - regional gallery architecture is a thing of its own.

Visit the colonial masterpiece of Maitland Regional Gallery for a look at what architect, Walter Liberty Vernon can do with a cantilevered marble staircase. Explore its many halls and galleries. Go to Penrith Regional Gallery for a taste of mid-century modern at the Lewer's homestead or head to Goulburn to sample Phillip Cox's archetypal curved and low-slung roofed creation, one of a suite of cultural buildings by Cox which includes the Australian National Maritime Museum. 

 

  • Manning Regional Art Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Manning Regional Art Gallery

  • Moree Plains Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Moree Plains Gallery

  • Mosman Art Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Mosman Art Gallery

  • Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre

  • National Institute for Experimental Arts

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    National Institute for Experimental Arts.

  • Newcastle Art Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Newcastle Art Gallery. Young children experience a guided tour. Supported by singing songs, playing games and tactile objects.

  • New England Regional Art Museum

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    New England Regional Art Museum. NERAM hosts the University of New England International Students Photography Award.

  • Object Centre of Craft & Design

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Object Centre of Craft & Design. The first Designer Bodies talk, The Heart Of It, at Object Gallery, July 2013. Hosted by Fenella Kernebone and featuring Leah Heiss, Dr John ...

  • Orange Regional Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Orange Regional Gallery

 

Five: Artist residencies

Many regional galleries host artist residencies. Artists work with galleries to explore collections, develop new work and to interact with the local people. Works produced through these residencies offer opportunities to expand collections, documenting relationships between place and people.

The Hill End Artist in Residence program, hosted by Bathurst Regional Gallery, is one of the better known. The original cottages and studios once occupied by artists such as Donald Friend, Russell Drysdale, John Olsen, Brett Whiteley and Margaret Olley in the '50s and '60s, are made available to contemporary artists and opened to the public at regular intervals throughout the year. It’s a great way to explore the making of art and to witness the collaboration of local communities with working artists.

Grafton Regional Gallery, New England Regional Art Museum and the new Margaret Olley Art Centre at Tweed Regional Art Gallery also offer sought-after residencies. 

 

  • Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    The Lewers at Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest.

  • The Glasshouse Regional Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Glasshouse Regional Gallery

  • S.H. Ervin Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    S.H. Ervin Gallery. The Gallery presents its popular Sunday afternoons @ the Gallery programs during exhibitions which includes talks from artists and others associated with the current exhibition.

  • Shoalhaven City Arts Centre

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Shoalhaven City Arts Centre

  • Tamworth Regional Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Tamworth Regional Gallery. Art after Hours.

  • Tweed River Art Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Tweed Regional Gallery. View from the Gallery Cafe verandah.

  • Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

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    Member of Regional & Public Galleries NSW.

    Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

  • Western Plains Cultural Centre

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    Western Plains Cultural Centre

  • Wollongong City Gallery

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    Wollongong City Gallery facade

 

Find a Regional Public Gallery near you

You can see over 40 statewide and non-profit regional galleries here. This directory of galleries is complete with details about each gallery's programs and all the information you need to arrange a visit.

In this article

Museums & Galleries of NSW helps museums, galleries and Aboriginal cultural centres of NSW create exciting and inspiring experiences for visitors and strong, thriving local communities. We develop their skills, connect them with others in the industry, provide funding, point visitors their way, and give them access to ground-breaking exhibitions.

Museums & Galleries of NSW is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

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