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Is there more to Tassie than MONA?

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There has been a lot of speculation about a renaissance of cultural life that is stirring in the south. Is it a belle époque? A golden age? A MONA-led rebirth for the citizens of Tasmania? There is certainly something in the rarefied southern air that has ensured that Hobart is a must visit destination for art and culture lovers from around the globe and around the country.

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) opened by David Walsh in January 2011 has been an incredible catalyst for a new wave of cultural tourism with visitors from around the world coming to Tasmania and discovering this incredible museum of wonderment.

Its impact on the cultural and economic life of Tasmania has been undeniable. MONA is a fantastic supporter of Tasmanian art with many Tasmanian artists part of its permanent collection. David Walsh has also supported many local musicians and artists through the truly original and inspirational music and art festival’s MONA FOMA (MOFO) and Dark Mofo.

MONA FOMA is curated by Brian Ritchie, bass player from the rock band Violent Femmes, and has revolutionised Tasmania’s summer landscape since it began in 2009. Dark Mofo is the cooler and darker sister festival that lights up the winter months with more music and more art.

But is MONA all that is on offer for tourists with a cultural bent?

Thankfully the answer is no, Tasmania’s island location means that it has always been slightly outside of the mainstream and has beaten to the sound of its own drum with lots to see and do.
The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is housed in some of the oldest buildings in the state and recently underwent extensive refurbishment. It is the perfect place to visit with kids and has something for everyone combining history, science, contemporary art and colonial art, and adventures to Antarctica.

TMAG can also credit the work of the oldest scientific society in the country, the Royal Society of Tasmania with the origin of some of its collections dating back to 1843 and has a very fine collection of early Tasmanian colonial decorative arts and paintings. It is the second oldest museum in country and a fascinating blend of permanent collections, exhibitions and events.
ARTBIKES are a free bike borrowing service that encourages locals and tourists to visit the dispersed galleries and cultural hot spots using pedal power. They are available in Hobart and Launceston and are inspired by programs run in many European cities. The uber-cool Dutch designed Vanmoof bikes have proved to be a popular mode of transport for culture vultures with many purchasing art on their visits.

Another great reason to visit one of the any commercial galleries in Tasmania is the COLLECT Art Purchase Scheme. The scheme provides interest-free loans to Australian residents to purchase or commission artworks by Tasmanian artists represented by one of the 17 galleries in the scheme. It is the only scheme of its kind in Australia and encourages everyone to start collecting Tasmanian art. It has been a really successful program and provides vital support to the local gallery sector and to Tasmania’s artists.

It seems that there is a lot going for this small state with a bold and brave cultural industry, striking natural beauty and clean air, great food and wine, friendly locals and with a raft a great festivals and events on the calendar there are even more reasons to plan a visit soon.

Article published: 28 November 2014

Museum of Old and New Art
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Mona – Museum of Old and New Art

Bookshops, Galleries, Live music, Major museums

655 Main Rd, Berriedale

The Museum of Old and New Art - MONA in Tasmania is a world class museum of contemporary art and antiquities.
Photo Credit: Dark Mofo/Lusy Productions, 2017 Image Courtesy Dark Mofo, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
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Dark Mofo

Festivals

7 Jun - 24 Jun 2018

Celebrating the dark through large-scale public art, food, film, music, light and noise.
Entrance to MONA FOMA at PW1 - Jan 2015
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MONA FOMA

Festivals

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MOFO - Mona's Festival of Music and Art