As Australia’s smallest capital city, Hobart has often played second fiddle to Melbourne and Sydney. Yet this quirky Tasmanian town has a lot going for it, not least of which is its burgeoning art scene. With a unique mix of historic and contemporary culture, Hobart’s galleries, museums, and art markets are becoming a global draw. The following are a few highlights that can help you appreciate the clash of old and new in Hobart’s picturesque harbour setting.
Salamanca Arts Centre
A massive arts space near Salamanca Place, with its waterfront warehouses dating back to the 19th century; Salamanca Arts Centre is now home to numerous galleries and artist studios. The largest in the complex is the Long Gallery, which features an eclectic line-up of multimedia exhibitions from local artists. Topspace, Kelly’s Garden, and Sidespace are also popular galleries worth looking at. You’ll also find several artist coops housed within the Salamanca Arts Centre, along with art and craft shops selling handmade handicrafts and jewellery.
The Museum of Old and New Art is a delightful mishmash of historic and contemporary culture, summing up Hobart’s new art scene in its approach to exhibits. You’ll find Picasso paintings sitting next to work from art students, for a subversive look at art that’s attracting visitors from all over the world. To get to the MONA, you can take a ferry from the Hobart waterfront and enjoy the selection of changing exhibitions. The museum also holds a sound and music festival each year, along with other hip and happening events.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
A more conventional art museum, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is currently going through a renovation to measure up to rivals like the MONA. You’ll find a blend of Tasmanian and international artists from throughout the centuries here, with a section dedicated to contemporary art.
The Tasmanian School of Art is part of the larger University of Tasmania, with a prime location right on the waterfront. The university’s gallery is hidden away underneath the art school, but it’s worth taking the time to find it due to its impressive rotating array of exhibitions. If you’re interested in finding out more about current Tasmanian artists, this is one of the best places to view their work. The gallery is closed to the public during the summer months when it’s used for research post-graduate examinations, but remains open on weekends.
A Strong Community
Due to the close, supportive art community in Hobart, a number of artists from around Australia have been looking at local real estate on Homesales or rental sites to get their foot in the door. The low cost of living, lack of traffic, and low stress lifestyle all make this charming Tasmanian capital a new hub of creativity.
As you gaze at the fishing boats, have a leisurely stroll around the Salamanca Markets, and take wine tasting day trips out into the countryside, it’s worth putting these cultural sights on your Hobart to-do list.