ART LOVER? GET YOUR FIX AT ADELAIDE’S BEST SPOTS FOR ARTS AND CULTURE
From modernism to Monet, Adelaide is undeniably Australia's arts, events and culture capital. Kick off the cultural calendar with the internationally revered Adelaide Film Festival and feed your soul all-year-round with South Australia's art lovers guide to the best art and cultural attractions and experiences in Adelaide.
1. ART GALLERY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA, ADELAIDE CBD
Set within the North Terrace Cultural Precinct, the Art Gallery of South Australia boasts one of the largest art museum collections in Australia - with almost 45,000 pieces from across the globe including Europe, North America, and Asia. Contemporary, envelope pushing installations jostle with artworks dating back 2000 years. The gallery’s also home to Tarnanthi – an annual celebration of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.
2. SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM, ADELAIDE CBD
From the skeleton of an 18-metre sperm whale to an Ancient Egyptian mummy and its original coffin, your jaw's set to drop on repeat at the South Australian Museum. Spanning five floors, the museum offers a wealth of not-to-be-missed pieces, from a giant squid replica, displayed in an old lift shaft over four storeys, to a hefty uncut opal, Fire of Australia, worth $900,000, and Australian polar expedition gear.
3. MORTLOCK WING, STATE LIBRARY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA, ADELAIDE CBD
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re wandering around a film set at the State Library of South Australia’s Mortlock Wing. Harry Potter and his pals wouldn’t look out of place here. But the building, which regularly appears on lists of the world’s most beautiful libraries. The State Library of South Australia is home to the largest collection of wine literature in the Southern Hemisphere - and one of the largest in the world - including an 11th century manuscript that describes punishments dolled out to drunk monks.
4. JAMFACTORY, ADELAIDE CBD AND THE BAROSSA
Ever wanted to be a fly-on-the-wall at an artist’s studio? Or perhaps more aptly here a gloriously multicoloured butterfly? For almost half a century, JamFactory has been championing the very best in local craft and design, from furniture to jewellery and ceramics. Hop along on a free behind the scenes tour, see glassblowing in action, and browse for your own objet d’art. The organisation, which was originally housed in an old jam factory, now also has a secondary site at Seppeltsfield in the Barossa.
5. DAVID ROCHE FOUNDATION HOUSE MUSEUM, NORTH ADELAIDE
Oozing with opulence is this house museum in North Adelaide, holding one of the nation’s finest private decorative arts collections. The complex includes David Roche’s former Federation-style home and an adjoining museum wing. See how the late art collector lived while feasting your eyes on more than 3500 items, spanning two centuries of European design – from the early Rococo of France to Fabergé in Russia. This hedonist’s paradise is David's legacy.
6. SAMSTAG MUSEUM OF ART, ADELAIDE CBD
Visual art your catnip? The University of South Australia’s leading art museum is sure to tickle your whiskers. Established in 2007, the Samstag Museum of Art honours two American benefactors – Anne and Gordon Samstag – whose bequest provides opportunities for Aussie artists to study abroad. Stimulate your mind with its program of innovative Adelaide art exhibitions, publications, and events.
7. TANDANYA – NATIONAL ABORIGINAL CULTURAL INSTITUTE, ADELAIDE CBD
Soak up the wonder of Aboriginal art in Adelaide at Tandanya. This is Australia’s oldest Aboriginal-owned and managed multi-arts centre. The visionary space showcases Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual and performing arts, both contemporary and traditional. Peruse its exhibitions, catch a performance, or pick up a work of beauty at its gallery shop.
8. UKARIA CULTURAL CENTRE, MOUNT BARKER SUMMIT
How many concert halls have you encountered that are perched on a hillside and surrounded by vineyards? UKARIA Cultural Centre has it all - sweeping views to the Mount Barker summit; an architectural, environmentally sustainable design; and of course, superb acoustics. In 2014, its modest concert room made way for a 220-seat concert hall, purpose-built for chamber music. Sate your ears just 40 minutes’ drive from the CBD, up the South Eastern Freeway and into the Adelaide Hills.
9. HANS HEYSEN – THE CEDARS, HAHNDORF
The Adelaide Hills home of famed landscape painter Hans Heysen once played host to royal visitors and celebrities from film, ballet, and opera, including diva Anna Pavlova. Now’s your turn for an invite. Tour the Heysens’ 14-hectare family property, The Cedars, purchased back in 1912, plus Australia’s oldest original artist studio. Feel like you’re peeking over Hans’ shoulder as you wander the Artist’s Walk and uncover some of his favourite painting spots. Also on-site is the studio of his acclaimed daughter, Nora.
KEEP ON INDULGING YOUR SENSES...
Feeding your mind can make you work up an appetite for the arts. Round off your cultural escapade with a foodie pitstop, using our guide to the best restaurants in Adelaide. Got some time up your sleeve while waiting for your dish to arrive? Scroll our list of South Australia’s festival and events for more adventures to add to your social calendar.