NSW Art Galleries

From rainforest draped with waterfalls to coastal coves and great swathes of moonscape desert, the New South Wales countryside, coast and outback has this way of inspiring creatives. All of us, really.

Tap into those who immortalise the state’s beauty at art galleries, intimate not-for-profit centres, museums and studios. Sculptures, paintings, prints, installations and photography all await, in institutions big and small.

North Coast

Near the Queensland border on the far North Coast, the town of Murwillumbah is small in population, but big in art. Welcome to the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre. With panoramic views of the Tweed River dancing over manicured gardens, the setting here is almost as memorable as the art you’ll glimpse inside. Exhibition spaces host a vibrant program of works, including the biennial Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture. But surely the highlight is the space dedicated to one of Australia’s most significant still-life and interior painters: The works of Margaret Olley (AO) are celebrated in a glorious apartment that recreates the artist’s own living space.  

Newcastle Art Gallery in Newcastle, North Coast

Newcastle Art Gallery, North Coast - Credit: Newcastle Council

Forty minutes’ drive south in Bangalow is Ninbella, an independent gallery representing Aboriginal artists from the Western and Central Desert regions of Australia, as well as the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. From here, you’re just a 20-minute drive from Byron Bay, where independent galleries galore line beach-facing streets.  

Closer to Sydney still, Newcastle Art Gallery is currently under renovation – when it reopens you can expect the exhibitions and public programs the gallery is already known for, as well as an outdoor sculpture garden featuring the works of international and local artists, new café and other event spaces.  

Vicki West and Nicole Monks, installation view of works, 2017, The Lock-Up

The Lock-Up, Newcastle - Credit: Jessie Jane

A short walk away, in the heritage Newcastle Police Station building, is The Lock-Up, a multidisciplinary contemporary arts space offering a diverse program of exhibitions, events, installations and workshops.

The Museum of Art and Culture Lake Macquarie, yapang  now includes a dedicated space for contemporary Aboriginal art exhibitions, as well as a sculpture park set on five hectares of leafy grounds, featuring work by local and national artists.

Business event delegates enjoying a guided Aboriginal tour experience along the Wagirra Trail and Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk in Albury Wodonga

Wagirra Trail and Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk, Albury Wodonga - Credit: Albury City Council and Destination Riverina Murray

Country NSW

Venture as far south as you can in New South Wales to the Victorian border, and along the banks of the beautiful Murray River in Albury you’ll discover the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk, a series of contemporary sculptures by local Aboriginal artists, detailing the Indigenous significance of the land.

In the city, you’ll find Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA), a contemporary gallery offering talks and workshops alongside international touring exhibitions and local and Indigenous art.

Wagga Wagga in the Riverina is an unlikely destination for Australia’s National Art Glass Collection, a jaw-dropping shrine to artists who create magical works of glass art, whether jewellery, installations or sculptures. Then in Bathurst, the Bathurst Regional Gallery showcases contemporary artworks with a strong focus on local creatives.

A comedy flick about the contribution of the Parkes Radio Telescope to the 1969 Apollo Moon landing, The Dish was filmed in the country NSW town of Parkes. You can visit the CSIRO’s Parkes Observatory, which is 20 kilometres north of town, and discover the global research this immense structure is contributing to and advancing.

South Coast NSW

South of Sydney, the Wollongong Art Gallery manages a collection of contemporary, Aboriginal, Asian and colonial artworks, as well as changing exhibitions. It’s a dynamic place for discovery, with plenty of opportunities to get hands-on. Just outside of Nowra, 100 kilometres south, is Bundanon, the home and studio of the late Australian artist Arthur Boyd. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, the estate offers guided tours that showcase the property and an extensive art collection from one of Australia’s greatest potters, painters and printmakers.

Nearby, Shoalhaven Regional Gallery is a shrine to South Coast creatives, celebrating the vibrant artwork of locals with added inspiration from up-and-coming regional and international artists. On the Sapphire CoastBega Valley Regional Gallery is a public-funded gallery showcasing contemporary Australian visual culture, with a focus on Indigenous artists

Outback NSW

In the far west of the state in a remote mining town, the unexpected Broken Hill City Art Gallery is the oldest regional art gallery in NSW. As such, it comes with a dramatic and extensive collection of works from Australian colonial times, as well as early 20th-century and contemporary paintings. Plan your day around this immersive experience.

Just 20 minutes outside of the town is the soul-stirring Living Desert and Sculptures, featuring 12 sandstone artworks by Lawrence Beck that manage to capture the outback skyline in all its fiery glory.

Also nearby in the hokey town of Silverton you’ll find the John Dynon Gallery, a high-five to all things outback. The colourfully decorated Aussie tin shack it calls home is almost as eye-catching as Dynon’s work.

Exterior view of the John Dynon Gallery in Silverton, Outback NSW

John Dynon Gallery, Silverton




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