Opened on its current site in 1987, the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery is a little piece of art culture tucked away near the river banks of Swan Hill. Overshadowed somewhat by its popular neighbours Spoons Riverside and the Pioneer Settlement, the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery really deserves its time to shine. Growing up in Melbourne (the self-proclaimed art capital of Australia) I would get my art fix wandering through the National Art Gallery, staring up at its gorgeous stained glass window ceiling or putting my hands on the iconic water wall at the entrance, as well as spending afternoons in the Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square. Now I’m no artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do appreciate the effort and creativity shown by those who have their work exhibited.
So I was a little excited when I arrived in Swan Hill and located the Regional Art Gallery. My first visit was a solo affair (I’ve taken my parents and a class of Prep students since), as was my visit this week, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every visit.
The current exhibition comprises 52 works from around Australia which were finalists in the ‘2016 National Print and Drawing Acquisitive Awards’. Whilst that does sound like a mouthful, it is the perfect exhibition for an art gallery novice to pop their ‘exhibition cherry’ (so to speak). Each artwork is accompanied by a short description about the artist’s intention and none of the works are overly abstract, which means you will be able to understand what you are looking at. Another great part of the current show is the ‘Print That! 2’ exhibition housed in the smaller gallery room. In here you can find print works from budding art students from local secondary schools. Like most galleries, they prefer it if you don’t take photos of the artwork (hence why none are included in this post), so you’re going to have to trust me that they are worth the visit.
The gallery technically doesn’t have an entry fee, as entry is by gold-coin donation. However, I personally suggest at least depositing a note in the donation box- if you were to view a similar sized exhibition in a capital city you’d easily be paying upwards of fifteen dollars.
Apart from housing exhibitions, the gallery hosts numerous opening night functions, workshops for both children and adults, as well as music events on the grass during the warmer months. The gift store also has a wide range of locally made and designed artworks, jewellery and woodwork.
So next time you are out treating yourself to a bite to eat at Spoons Riverside, allow yourself another half an hour to check out what artistic treasures are on show at the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery- you might just find some inspiration for you own inner artist.
The 2016 National Print and Drawing Acquisitive Awards exhibition is showing until the 10th of July 2016.
Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery, located at Horseshoe Bend (next to Spoons Riverside)
Open 10am-5pm Tues-Fri and 10am-4pm on weekends