Popularly referred to as the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne is a city that has a buzzing, colorful and dynamic arts and cultural scene. Visitors can marvel at the skill, innovation and imagination of local aspiring artists and designers at over a 100 hole-in-the-wall galleries, designer boutiques and theatres scattered throughout Melbourne’s lane ways. For a contemporary fusion of art and architecture, Federation Square is the place where visitors can ponder upon visually stimulating exhibits at ACMI, stroll through Ian Potter Gallery (NGV Australia – the world’s first major public gallery dedicated to to Australian art), or watch a recital at the BMW Edge Theatre.
This photo of National Gallery of Victoria is courtesy of TripAdvisor
National Gallery of Victoria – From the top of St. Kilda Road to Federation Square, the National Gallery of Victoria is a arts precinct with two stunning galleries a short walk apart. Opened in St Kilda Road in 1968, visitors have free entry to both galleries with access to the permanent collection. The Ian Potter Gallery (NGV Australia at Federation Square), and The Arts Centre – just right next to each other.
The NGV International has an impressive collection of European, Asian, Oceanic and American Art. Currently the total collection has more than 70,000 works of art. One of the most iconic buildings in Melbourne, the National Gallery of Victoria houses one of the most impressive art collections in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Ian Potter gallery is dedicated to Australian art showcasing superb collections of Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous art going as far back as the Colonial period to the present day. The NGV Australia holds the distinction for having more Australian art on permanent display than any other gallery in the world. In addition there are special exhibitions and programs, dining options and a glass matrix offering unique views of the city.
For a different perspective of the arts, head over to any one of the many public galleries in Melbourne where visitors can see works by great Australian painters of the past two hundred years to photography, sculture and the moving image.
Heide Museum of Modern Art – One of the most important cultural institutions in Australia, Heide Museum of Modern Art is located just 15 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD. This museum offer visitors a unique opportunity to view a fusion of art, architecture and landscape. The museum was previously a former dairy farm that was purchased by well known Melbourne art collectors John and Sunday Reed in 1934 and became home to a exclusive collective known as the Heide Circle, which included many of Australia’s best-known modernist painters, such as; Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan, Laurence Hope Joy Hester and others, who lived and worked in the former farm house. Heide Museum of Modern Art is is considered to be one of the finest examples of modernist architecture in Victoria.The Heide site comprises 16 acres of landscape – including historic kitchen gardens, a sculpture park and meadow – as well as three dedicated exhibition spaces; Heide I, Heide II and Heide III. Today the museum houses all forms of contemporary Australian art, including some by contemporary Indigenous artists.
Her Majesty’s Theatre– Built in 1886, Her Majesty’s Theatre aka ‘The Maj’ is Melbourne’s home to the world’s greatest stage shows. The 125 year old heritage listed lyric theatre has been entertaining audiences since its doors first opened. The theatre has consistently played host to some of the world’s best artists and shows. For instance, the legendary Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, mesmerized Australian crowds with her performances in 1926 and 1929. Her Majesty’s Theatre has also hosted productions such as Doctor Zhivago, Mary Poppins, Chicago, Miss Saigon, Cabaret, Mamma Mia!, Monty Python’s Spamalot, Billy Elliot The Musical, The Merchants of Bollywood, Hair, Bizet’s Carmen, Queen ‘Its a Kinda Magic’, Nutcracker on Ice AND the Hollow Crown to name a few.
After renovations, the Maj now has new and more comfortable seats throughout the auditorium, a modern stage house, enlarged orchestra pit and upgraded backstage facilities. With an impressive seating capacity of 1700 and its rich history, the theatre is truly a Melbourne icon.
The Australian Ballet – Founded in 1962 by J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd. and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, The Australian Ballet is largest classical ballet company in Australia and also one of the country’s flagship arts companies. Recognized as one of the world’s major international ballet companies, The Australian Ballet performs classical and contemporary works by major Australian and international choreographers, and new commissions that explore the development and future of this classic dance form.
One of the busiest ballet companies in the world, in addition to regular international ballet performances, The Australian Ballet holds approximately 200 performances in cities and regional areas around Australia every year. So in 2012 when The Australian Ballet turns 50, be sure to catch them when they present their performances in Melbourne. This is one even you don’t want to miss!