On the eastern edge of Sydney’s CBD, a hub of inner city Artist-Run Initiatives (ARIs) have established themselves within striking distance of each other, making these once notorious areas the perfect setting for a walking tour of the local artistic offerings.

Not only can you enjoy a leisurely stroll from one location to the next, you can also soak up new and exciting works by artists at the coal face of contemporary art in Australia. And who knows, you might even add to your own art collection, or start one!   

Beginning at Central Station, first stop is MILS Gallery in Surry Hills. Tucked away behind busy Chalmers Street, this gallery’s triangular layout and large street level windows allow the works exhibited inside to be on display 24/7 to casual passers-by.       

From there head to Chalk Horse gallery in Darlinghurst. This subterranean space was once a storage room for high-end furniture, but is now a two-roomed gallery for Chalk Horses’ resident artist’s new works.      

Next stop: TAP gallery. This well-known and well-loved gallery-cum-theatre space has multiple stages and spaces featuring works by emerging artists, actors, film makers and playwrights. There is also a café/bookstore on the second floor for those in need of physical nourishment.    

Dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art in disused spaces, Alaska Projects is a surprising gallery located in an old mechanic’s workshop in the basement of a Kings Cross carpark. The walls are 5 x 5 metres high and the concrete floor retains the original yellow parking bay line, visually dividing the space in two.

Finish up at Firstdraft, whose new location in Woolloomooloo features four different gallery spaces, two artists’ studios and a private courtyard. The heritage-listed building was once a depot for street cleaners and its triangular shape creates an array of peculiarly shaped rooms and nooks to explore.


  • Mils Gallery

    Established in 2009, Mils Gallery is an Artist Run Initiative based out of Sydney's ...

    15 Randle St, Surry Hills, NSW, 2010, Australia
  • Chalk Horse

    Chalk Horse is a contemporary art gallery based in Sydney, Australia.

    The gallery exhibits a ...

    Ground Floor, 171 William Street, Darlinghurst, NSW, 2010, Australia
  • Tap Gallery

    Tap Gallery is an artist run space and has been around for 24 years.

    It ...

    45 Burton St, Darlinghurst, NSW, 2010, Australia
  • Alaska Projects

    Alaska Projects is a Sydney based Artist Run Initiative established to exhibit contemporary visual art ...

    9A Elizabeth Bay Rd, Level 2 Kings Cross Car Park, Elizabeth Bay, NSW, 2011, Australia
  • Firstdraft

    Firstdraft is a national artist-led organisation that fosters and creates a professional context for the ...

    13-17 Riley Street, Woolloomooloo, NSW, 2011, Australia

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.

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