Changing spaces: Sydney’s ARIs

  • A photo of the corner shaped building where Firstdraft gallery has opened


    Firstdraft gallery on Riley Street

    now in Woolloomooloo

  • A close up of the curved wall of Firstdraft's new gallery space in Riley Street Sydney


    An angular view on approach to

    Firstdraft’s new signature space

  • A photo of Nadia Odlum's artwork Pull which highlights the internal space using strips of black electrical tape


    'Pull' by Nadia Odlum shows one

    creative use of Firstdraft’s unique new architecture

  • A photo showing the double doors of Chalkhorse gallery in its new location at the bottom of a set of sandstone stairs on William Street Sydney


    Approaching Chalk Horse gallery

    from William Street

  • A photo of the double doors to Chalkhorse gallery


    The double door entry to

    Chalk Horse’s new basement gallery

  • Interior space of Chalkhorse galllery showing white walls and overhead pipes


    An exhibition by Reko Rennie at

    Chalkhorse gallery

  • A photo of the exterior of PomPom gallery taken on an angle from the street


    The entry to MOP Projects

    and Galerie pompom on Abercrombie Street

  • A photo of inside Pom Pom gallery with a large dark painting on the right


    MOP Projects to the right on entry

    and works by Miles Hall in Galerie pompom

  • A photo of the internal space at Pom Pom gallery showing the walls and fluorescent lighting on the ceiling


    Inside Galerie pompom

    works as part of Wotan, erwache! exhibition by Samuel Quinteros

  • A photo of the entrance to 107 Projects gallery in Redfern


    Inside 107 Projects

    situated in Redfern Street, Redfern

  • A photo of the entrance to 107 Projects gallery in Redfern


    Extensive and accessible exhibiting

    and performance space at 107 Projects

  • A photo of the internal space at 107 Projects gallery showing grey walls and several wooden art pieces on display


    Works by James Harney from

    Undercurrent exhibition on display at 107 Projects Redfern

As we wave a sad farewell to the eminent Damien Minton Gallery who closes its doors this month, it’s reassuring to know that many of our most loved Artist-Run Initiatives (ARI) are still in good stead. But be warned, if you haven’t visited a Sydney ARI recently, some of these spaces are not where you left them last!

Firstdraft gallery, a veritable matriarch of the Sydney artist run initiatives since 1986, held its last exhibition in Chalmers Street last December and threw open its doors to it's new exhibiting space in Woolloomooloo by March. Firstdraft’s new space– courtesy of the City of Sydney–now hosts four gallery spaces, two artist studios and a concrete courtyard. Once a workman’s wash depot for street-cleaners, the Riley Street building still sports many peculiar features and pokey corners like rust stained concrete from steel storage lockers and heritage urinals. Nadia Odlum’s site specific work Pull was on show when M&G visited. Odlum responds directly to the unique architecture; making visible through black tape the metaphysical rigging of this peculiar juncture building.

Chalk Horse gallery meanwhile has gone underground, relinquishing its infamous back alley Surry Hills address. The gallery’s new position on William Street is marked by a clandestine set of double doors. Look out for the black sandwich board by the sandstone stairs which flags the gallery’s entry. To enter, buzz the gallery on the intercom and take the lift or stairs down to the basement. This July Chalk Horse showcases new work by Reko Rennie in the show No Sleep Til Dreamtime. In a former life the underground exhibition space was a stock room for a high-end furniture store and small parts of the office ceiling still bear chintzy plastic gold paint; a feature of limited lifespan, says gallery manager James, as they complete the final transformation of this basement turned gallery.

The practice of keeping in close proximity with other art spaces continues to maintain the strengths of arts hubs around the city.

Over in Chippendale, MOP projects and neighbour Galerie pompom have just swapped houses, though this is probably more akin to changing rooms with your sibling, given that both spaces are run by Ron and George Adams. MOP was their firstborn and has been in Chippendale since 2008 with younger sibling Galerie Pompom arriving on the scene about 3 years ago. Pompom is run on a commercial basis with Ron and George sharing the parental responsibilities for both spaces.

Within a stone’s throw is another creative space, 107 Projects in Redfern Street. 107 Projects has been making creative play in their Redfern warehouse since late 2012, but have been creative contributors in many guises in Sydney since 2001. M&G caught a glance at a fly-by exhibition by James Harney, but with a broad umbrella of activity on at 107 there’s always something new happening each week. November is already in our diary for a return visit; 107 Projects will stage the celebrations and achievements of the state’s museums and galleries for this year’s IMAGinE Awards.

So if it’s been a while since you took a wander through Sydney’s rich ARI locales, make sure to check out your old friends’ new homes.

In this article

107 Projects


Chalk Horse




Museums & Galleries of NSW helps small-medium museums, galleries and Aboriginal cultural centres create exciting experiences for visitors and, through this, thriving local NSW communities. We don't run museums, galleries and cultural centres but we care about those who do. 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.

Stay in touch


Our latest e-news is packed with news, events, and exhibition info.