By Jade Johnston
Exploring The Art Scene In Melbourne
Melbourne is famous for many things. It’s well known as a great destination for heavenly coffee, delightful food, a vibrant music scene, and an inspirational array of artists.
But for the casual visitor, and even the seasoned Melbournite – finding these cultural gems for which Melbourne gets it’s artistic reputation may not be immediately apparent.
Eccentric bars hide in alley ways, great restaurants are unassumingly signposted, and artist galleries and studios are difficult to find in the maze of side streets and alley ways which Melbourne is famous for.
So how does someone new to the art scene in Melbourne become privy to some of it’s best kept secrets?
Well for art lovers, the answer is with Bernadette Alibrando’s Melbourne wine, cheese, and art walking tour. Bernie is an experienced artist and art curator.
This four hour walking tour does not solely cater to international tourists. In fact, the majority of Bernie’s patrons are actually Melbournites, or other locals of Australia. When my fiance and I joined her tour during our time in Melbourne, I was actually the only foreigner among the bunch.
We navigated ourself through the streets of Melbournes china town, to the bar Section 8, where the tour was beginning. The tour begins in a new spot each time, and no two tours are exactly the same. One of the other patrons on the tour was actually a repeat customer – eager to discover some more of Melbourne’s prolific art community.
Finding Section 8 turned out to be a small challenge. Despite receiving very detailed directions from our guide Bernie, we still managed to miss the small alley in which it was located twice. Finally we found it, and were rewarded with getting to have a drink in one of the quirkiest little bars I have been to as of yet in Australia.
Melbourne’s alleys and side streets are rife with street art, but some is of a higher quality than others. Bernie directed us to some of her favourite pieces, and not only taught us the details and techniques in creating the work, but also regaled us with personal stories about the artists.
However, the particular tour we were on was not one that focused entirely on street art (although some of her tours do), and we soon wound our way down Melbourne’s alleys to some unmarked galleries where local and upcoming artists and exhibit their work.
In an effort to make sure that her tour offers a view of Melbourne that would not be easily accessible to someone who was not immersed themselves in the art scene, Bernie made sure to make a point of taking us to small independent galleries and studios, and avoided most larger commercial exhibition spaces.
Not only did we discover some great new artists, including those working with painting, photography, and collage, but we also discovered some great new neighbourhoods of Melbourne.
Bernie pointed out which areas and streets had the best boutique shopping, as well as some of the best eateries as well. Before we eventually ended up at a small Spanish tapas bar, where we relaxed with some great wine and cheese after our long day of walking and visual stimulation.
The Melbourne Art Walk Tour Is Great For:
- Art lovers who want to see the Melbourne art scene from a local perspective
- International artists who want to meet other artists and gain inspiration from their work
- People who have just moved to Melbourne, who want to discover some of the cities best hidden away gems
- Melbournites who want to get under the skin of their city, and discover the artistic energy which makes their city famous
The Nitty Gritty
- The Art Walk operates two times per week
- The tour is about 4 hours in duration
- The tour is a walking tour, wear reasonable footwear and dress comfortably
- The weather in Melbourne is unpredictable, don’t be like me and leave your umbrella at home!
- The tour is approximately $108 and can be booked through this website.
Our tour was provided complimentary by the Melbourne Art Walk, but all opinions remain our own