Melbourne is often labeled the most ‘artistic’ and cultural of all the state and territory capitals. But Sydney gives it a good run for its money. While natural features like the harbour and beaches dominate the Sydney ‘snapshots’, it’s also a home to just as many galleries as its southern sister.
If you want a taste all you need to do is take a stroll around some of Sydney’s art hubs. Apart from the ‘big Kauna’ (Art Gallery of NSW and Museum of Contemporary Art), you’ll find smaller commercial galleries sprinkled through the streets. One of the most densely populated districts is the very centrally located Darlinghurst. Here’s a ‘to do’ list to get you started:
- TAP Gallery (278 Palmer St, Darlinghurst): This is a space that provides exhibition space for emerging artists. As a result, it’s often somewhere to see some of the most exciting and innovative work on the market.
- Urban Uprising (90 Fitzroy St, Surry Hills): If TAP gallery is innovative… Urban Uprising is groundbreaking. This new gallery has a mission to bring street art from around the world to audiences in Australia. This fresh approach to graffiti challenges the divide between high and low art. We’re talking big names like Banksy, Insect, Beejoir, Faile, Gee Vaucher, Jamie Reid, James Cauty, Shepard Fairey, Blak Le Rat and Nick Walter. If you are a street art fan you’ll be weak at the knees by now. If you’re new to the genre, do yourself a favour and make a beeline to this gallery.
- King Street Gallery (177 William Street, Darlinghurst): Here you’ll find a number of Australia’s most prominent paintbrush wielders including Elisabeth Cummings, Idris Murphy, Jenny Sages and Wendy Sharpe. It also throws a line to emerging artists, who often exhibit some of the best work.
- The Artery Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery (Shop 2, The Westbury, 221 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst): This not-for-profit gallery, established by Alesha Glennon who set out to establish ‘a gallery with a difference’, returns all their profits to charity. Drop by and experience the colourful, engaging showcase of indigenous art.
- National Art School Gallery (Cnr Forbes & Burton Streets, Darlinghurst): This gallery, showing a range of interesting exhibitions, is housed in one of the oldest and most prestigious visual arts schools in Australia. It’s worth going in just to have a sticky beak behind the historic walls.
To make the most of a day trampling the art filled Darlinghurst streets, treat yourself to a night in a nearby hotel. Darlinghurst has a range of options. You could also try the close by areas of Surry Hills and Paddington but to be a stone’s throw from these galleries, and surrounded by excellent eateries and bars, Darlinghurst accommodation is sure to be a winning choice.