Discover art with heart at the edge of the world.
The big names are here - think Mona and TMAG - but also a constellation of small, edgy galleries and thought-provoking public art around the state.
Explore sculpture trails, a town of murals and a carved wall of Huon pine, or wander along cobbled laneways into galleries tucked inside historic buildings and chat with the artists.
Art in the city
The floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing contemporary art at TAG Gallery in the Hobart CBD will catch the eye of passersby. Bett Gallery on Murray Street, is a family-run gallery that represents a mix of local artists, Aboriginal artists and mainland art.
Spend an afternoon exploring the local galleries in the Salamanca precinct. There are galleries tucked away on cobbled laneways and dotted throughout the grand Georgian sandstone warehouses. Wander into Salamanca Arts Centre, Long Gallery, Handmark, Colville Gallery and Despard to see a mix of local and international artworks.
Sawtooth is an artist initiative gallery in Launceston displaying contemporary and experimental art. Gallery Pejean in the CBD has a diverse range of art and monthly exhibitions. Near the entrance of City Park is Design Tasmania, a showcase gallery of the island’s top artisans. Check out the permanent collection of contemporary wood design, as well as works in metal, ceramics and wicker.
A trip to Tasmania isn’t complete without a pilgrimage to Mona on the outskirts of Hobart, one of the most controversial private art collections in the world. Other major galleries include the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) in Hobart and Queen Victoria Museum and Gallery (QVMAG) in Launceston, the largest regional art gallery in Australia.
Henry Jones Art Hotel
Art, history and hospitality collide at the Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart’s historic waterfront precinct. The building itself – a former IXL jam factory - is an artwork. Take an art tour of the hotel and hear the stories behind the pieces by emerging and established Tasmanian artists.
Follow a sculpture trail
Step back in time on the Battery Point Sculpture Trail. Start from the impressive Georgian sandstone warehouses of Salamanca and follow the trail along the waterfront to the picturesque Hobart suburb of Battery Point.
A 10min drive north of Hobart’s CBD is GASP! Glenorchy Arts and Sculpture Park. This dynamic project showcases temporary and permanent art that focus on working with the environment.
See the characters that helped shape the history of the region along the Great Western Tiers Sculpture Trail. Starting on the main street of Deloraine, the trail flanks the riverbank and goes further afield to Mole Creek and the town of Meander.
Take a break on a Western Wilds road trip to see three stunning installations, each inspired by a story from the region. In the 1300 convex mirrors in Forest Specular, reflect on the activists who campaigned to stop the damming of the Franklin River. See Bitumen Bones at the foot of the Sentinel Range, and prepare for the confronting image of The Extinction Story, an artwork depicting the trapping of a Tasmanian tiger.
Tasman National Park
It won’t just be the views that take your breath away on the Three Capes Track. Tasmanian artist Alex Miles has created five artworks along the track that celebrate elements of the environment, from wedge-tailed eagles, abalone and sea kelp to she-oaks, shipwrecks and whale bones. Also, a collection of cleverly designed benches and chairs are placed strategically along the track for catching views.
Explore art in the landscape on the 2km trail at Art Farm Birchs Bay. There’s an eclectic mix of installations inspired by the environment – birds, whales, flowers and fruit – and plenty of sculpted seats along the way.
Art for everyone
Detour on the laneways in Hobart CBD and discover walls covered in art and murals. See giant black cockatoos on Bathurst Street, and venture down Criterion Street and to Mathers Lane to see walls of art. Wander along Liverpool Street and head to Bidencopes Lane, lined with colourful artwork. Grab a coffee and rest a while in Collins Court. There’s a lot to see.
Town of murals
Welcome to Sheffield, the town of murals. This small town in the foothills of Mount Roland in the north-west features more than 140 murals depicting the history of the region, including the mysterious Tasmanian tiger, and pioneers from the past such as Cradle Mountain champion Gustav Weindorfer. There’s an audio walking tour, small galleries and a museum to visit.
Artistic surprises pop up often on island road trips. The Heritage Highway between Hobart and Launceston features 16 roadside silhouettes of colonial characters, from convicts to bushrangers, between Kempton and Tunbridge. Keep an eye out for an artwork displayed on a rocky hillside along the Bass Highway in Circular Head, with depictions of wind turbines, farming and fishing representing the region’s identity. Spot the Tasmanian tiger when driving into Maydena in the south-west, and wander among the carved trees in Legerwood in the state’s north-east.
Exploring the regions
It’s a challenge to describe The Wall in the Wilderness in Derwent Bridge as anything but extraordinary. Three metres high and more than 100m in length, the Huon pine panels carved by artist Greg Duncan depict the history of the Central Highlands, and stories of hardship and endurance of the region’s pioneers.
See what clever and beautiful objects can be made from Huon pine at the Wilderness Woodworks Strahan. From kitchenware to jewellery, everything is handcrafted. There’s also the chance to see artisans at work in the adjacent workshop.
Allow time to get lost in the six expansive galleries at the Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery. There’s a photography section and revolving exhibitions displaying botanical and landscape pieces. Feeling inspired? Take time out to sketch in the Drawing Room. Can’t find the kids? They’ll be in the Children’s Room.
The unique experiences of living on an island off an island are captured in the exhibits by local artists at the King Island Arts & Cultural Centre. As well as exhibitions, there’s a range of workshops and masterclasses run in this vibrant and creative space for locals and travellers. Drop in for a glimpse at island life.
Delve into the past at the St Helens History Room. Learn about Tasmanian Aboriginal heritage, maritime history, the lives of Chinese tin miners and the role of local pioneers in shaping north-east Tasmania. There are more than 20,000 images in the photography collection.
Want a little reminder of Tasmanian landscapes? Capturing the distinctive morning and evening light across land and sea, the colours are mesmerising at Stanley’s Studio and Gallery in the artsy Huon Valley town of Cygnet.