*Stuart is the former drummer of short lived Hobart bands Trainpark and Lifecoach, we asked him to give us his perspective on the Tassie arts scene.
Hobart’s waterfront is undoubtedly the gallery capital of Tasmania with the highest concentration of arts spaces anywhere in the state. So if you’re planning to see all that Sullivans Cove and Salamanca Place offers, a little help may be in order. Consider this your guide to the must-see, go-to, hot-spot galleries on the Hobart waterfront. From historical to contemporary, public to commercial, these are the places you should not miss.
To make your journey as easy as possible I’ve prepared a little map, with the most logical starting point being the Plimsoll Gallery at the University of Tasmania’s School of Art. You’ll find the Plimsoll by approaching the Art School from Hunter Street and instead of going up the big stairs, go through the little metal door to the left. The Plimsoll Gallery is the University’s primary showcase gallery, however the featured artworks are not exclusively produced by students. The gallery is one of the key contemporary not-for-profit arts spaces in Tasmania, featuring an impressive calendar of exhibitions from local and touring artists. Just don’t visit on Tuesdays, as you’ll find the gallery closed.
Following the path on my ever helpful Salamanca gallery map, you should stumble upon Henry Jones Design which showcases some of the finest examples of Tasmania’s arts and crafts movement. ART MOB is next door and sits in the old IXL jam factory building on Hunter Street. At Art Mob you’ll find Tasmania’s finest collection of Aboriginal art. The gallery specialises in Tasmanian Aboriginal art but also boasts an impressive collection of pieces sourced from all over the country, by some of the country’s finest Aboriginal artists.
You’ll find the next stop on the tour, Henry Jones Art Hotel, right next door. The Henry Jones Art Hotel, is not a gallery in the traditional sense of the word, but has works scattered around the building in spaces not designed specifically for viewing art. However by exploring the former sandstone jam factory you’ll find contemporary works available for purchase from Tasmania’s leading established and emerging artists. Although it may not be your typical viewing experience, you’ll find works displayed in The Studio Lounge, the IXL Atrium, Henry’s Restaurant, IXL Long Bar, and in every room and suite of the hotel.
Next stop, TMAG. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is the big ticket on the gallery list, and inevitably where you’ll spend the biggest chunk of your day. Although Australia’s second oldest museum has been cast under MONA’s shadow in recent years, TMAG is a fantastic facility that can comfortably satisfy your desire for Tasmanian art, history and culture. TMAG features a well organised, somewhat unconventional layout that is far more interactive and inviting than the traditionally sterile classic museum design. At TMAG you’ll find some of Tasmania’s most historically significant artworks along with a diverse range of highly engaging exhibitions featuring notable modern and contemporary works. The likes of Sydney Nolan and John Glover feature significantly.
Your next stop is a little bit of a trek, a grand total of 700 metres by my calculations to Gallery Salamanca, which marks the beginning of the famous Salamanca Arts Centre precinct, a wonderful collection of performance spaces, galleries and businesses all fuelled by Tasmanian creative industries. Gallery Salamanca is packed to the brim with amazing work. With a unique focus on Tasmanian works Gallery Salamanca, is a hit with visitors.
Handmark Gallery is another commercial gallery space located within the confines of the Salamanca Arts Centre. One of Tasmania’s leading commercial galleries, Handmark represents some truly impressive talent from the likes of Jock Young to leading Tasmania furniture designers Toby Muir-Wilson and Simon Ancher.
The Long Gallery, up the main stairs and to the right when entering the Salamanca Arts Centre, is the largest public exhibition space at the centre. The vast yet intimate hall is perfect for showcasing visual arts, hosting an impressive range of exhibitions and events, such as the Tasmanian Portraiture Prize which I was treated to upon my visit.
Just next door to Handmark and the Long Gallery, Aspect Design is also worth a peek. Although most local galleries are great supporters of the arts in Tasmania, Aspect has focused solely on works made in Tasmania, since its 1978 opening. Aspect is also in the business of commissioning bespoke Tasmanian furniture.
In contrast to the old sandstone warehouses that house the majority of the Salamanca arts spaces, Colville Gallery sits on the bottom floor of a sleek skinny building at the end of the Salamanca Place strip. The exquisite contemporary works exhibited in the space match the buildings slick exterior, with a well curated collection of works for sale by leading Australian and Tasmanian painters, printers and sculptors.
You’ve now reached the end of Salamanca Place, but I wouldn’t throw in the towel just yet. Despard Gallery is just around the corner and definitely worth a sticky beak. A fantastic supporter of emerging talent, Despard currently represents over 50 artists, stocking hundreds of pieces and continually exhibiting new works. For high quality contemporary work that you’re unlikely to have seen before, make the trip around the corner and complete the tour!
Most of these galleries also participate in the COLLECT Art Purchase Scheme, so if you see any work by Tasmanian artists that you absolutely need to take home, ask the gallery about the Scheme as you may be eligible for an interest free loan to purchase the work.
Article published 8 October 2015
Centre for The Arts, Hunter Street
31 Hunter Street, Hobart
25 Hunter Street, Hobart
29 Hunter Street, Hobart
Bookshops, Galleries, Heritage, Major museums
Dunn Place, Hobart
15 Castray Esplanade, Battery Point TAS
Salamanca Arts Centre, Salamanca Place
Salamanca Arts Centre, Salamanca Place
91a Salamanca Place, Battery Point