Following the state government’s easing of restrictions last week, galleries were given the green light to reopen with a maximum of 20 people per space and an allowance of four-square metres per person.
While the doors were allowed to reopen on June 1, not all institutions have done so just yet, taking time to implement a range of hygiene and physical distancing measures to ensure the safety of staff and visitors, with gallery and museum capacities set to increase to 50 people on Monday 22 June.
Here’s when our regional galleries are reopening and what you can expect to see when you go…
From Monday 22 June, the Geelong Gallery will reopen to the public, with online bookings, member priority access, sanitisation stations, physical distancing and no cloaking being some of measures the gallery is implementing. Visitors to Geelong Gallery can enjoy Collection leads: Kate Beynon—kindred spirits, Jacky Redgate—HOLD ON, Going public—portraits from the Colin Holden Collection and Resonance+Reflection—design ideas for an expanded Geelong Gallery and the Gallery’s permanent collection. Geelong Gallery will continue to offer our public, learn and access programs online until further notice for the safety of our visitors and staff. The Gallery will be open daily from 10am to 5pm.
Art Gallery of Ballarat
Australia’s oldest and largest regional gallery, The Art Gallery of Ballarat, will reopen its doors on 1 July to a limited number of visitors from 10am-5pm daily using a free, timed entry ticket system.
There are currently two exhibitions open to experience. The first is Stagecraft by Ballarat-born, London-based artist David Noonan and the second is Strange ways by Melbourne-based artist Anne Wallace. More exhibitions will open at the start of August.
Other measures to protect the health and safety of visitors and staff will include hand sanitising stations, social distancing signage and floor markings, limited access to (and the deep cleaning of) gallery spaces and there won’t be any tours or events for the time being.
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery
Since its establishment in 1971, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (MPRG) has grown to become one of Australia’s leading regional galleries, renowned for its exhibition program of Australian art. Luckily for all the art buffs, to gallery is set to re-open on July 1 with their large-scale 50th anniversary collection exhibition ‘MPRG: FIFTY’. This exhibition will celebrate and highlight the depth and diversity of their already amazing collection. Alongside implementing measures and procedures according to Victorian Government restrictions, the gallery will be reducing their opening hours to 11am-4pm Tuesday-Sunday. For the time being, the gallery will continue to share podcasts, videos, collection, online exhibitions, and children’s activities online.
Warrnambool Art Gallery
For the past 130 years, with more than 2,000 artworks ranging from European Salon and Colonial paintings of the 1800’s and Indigenous artefacts, to the Melbourne Modernists of the 1940’s and contemporary works, the Warrnambool Art Gallery has facilitated rich experiences for audiences both through its collection and through an inspired program of exhibitions and events in and beyond the gallery. Thankfully audiences can continue to be inspired from Tuesday when the gallery reopens their doors, with 20 people allowed at a time. While fewer visitors will be allowed, the gallery promises a deeper experience with their exhibition program that will resume with the shows in place before COVID-19 restrictions began, including UNREST, featuring works by contemporary artists Liam Benson, Charmaine Clarke, Caroline Garcia, Ron Mueck, Patricia Piccinini, and SODA_JERK; Stephen Campbell’s TAUT, an anthology of graphic arts and paintings created across four decades and Simon Linardi’s Bull Cow will reopen in the Family Learning Centre, with tactile elements reduced and increased deep cleaning and sanitising. There will also be three new acquisitions to the WAG collection from Indigenous artist Josh Muir, Coolamon Shield’, ‘Whales’ and ‘Lighthouse’ as part of his exhibition Climax Theatre.
TarraWarra Museum of Art
Located in the beautiful Yarra Valley wine region, a one hour drive north-east of Melbourne, TarraWarra Museum of Art plan to reopen the doors to its award-winning building mid-July. Since opening in 2003, the Museum has become recognised as a cultural icon in the region, providing visitors with an enjoyable, inspiring experience which combines stunning architecture with the very best of modern and contemporary art. Exhibitions cover a diverse range of stimulating and innovative Australian and international art in group and collection shows and single artist surveys, offering constantly refreshing contexts in which to experience art. Upon reopening, the Making Her Mark: Selected Works from the Collection exhibition has been extended to coincide.
The NGV (International and the Ian Potter Centre)
From Saturday June 27, NGV International and NGV Australia will welcome visitors to exhibitions including Collecting Comme and Japanese Modernism while The State Library’s La Trobe Reading Room and the Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, alongside other recently overhauled spaces. Like many others, the gallery will be implementing free timed tickets, queue management, limits of how many people can be in each space and lots and lots of hand sanitiser. Visitors will be able to explore the gallery’s sizeable permanent collection, as well as exhibitions including Collecting Comme, Japanese Modernism, Liquid Light: 500 Years of Venetian Glass, the 2019 architecture commission at the NGV International, and Top Arts 2020 at the Ian Potter Centre. Prior to its official reopening on June 27, the NGV will open from June 22 to 26 to allow groups in the community who have additional challenges in visiting to access the gallery.
Arts Centre Melbourne
Reopening from June 27, the Arts Centre Melbourne will have four special offers available to visitors, including self-guided tours of the Theatres Building, unique food and beverage experiences, the Australian Music Vault exhibition (big yes from us!) and Ghostly Machines – an astounding technology experience in neighbouring Hamer Hall.
Arts Centre Melbourne’s Together With You digital content hub will continue to bring the best of the performing arts to audiences at home, including performance recordings, educational workshops, artist interviews, podcasts and 6 more episodes of the spectacular weekly musical entertainment show Big Night In with John Foreman, the Aussie Pops Orchestra and a host of other artists and performers.
Bendigo Art Gallery
The Bendigo Art Gallery has actually already reopened, swinging open the doors on Saturday, June 6, with two exhibitions on show include Bessie Davidson and Sally Smart: two artists and the Parisian avant-garde and Ross Taylor: Field Notes. To ensure compliance with health regulations, the gallery has introduced timed ticketing to manage restricted numbers, which can be booked for free ahead of your visit. Hand sanitiser is also available in the foyer and guests will be monitored throughout the gallery to ensure physical distancing.
Shepparton Art Museum
Shepparton Art Museum is home to 3000 works of art, and the permanent collection (its crowning jewel) sprawls over two storeys, with a focus on Australian art and ceramics. The gallery reopened to the public last week and will adhere to government guidelines with increased cleaning, limited capacity and social distancing, running from 10am – 4pm every day. Currently all exhibitions are open, including ‘A Finer Grain: Selected Works from the SAM Collection’, an exhibition presenting key and lesser-known works by Australian women artists from the Shepparton Art Museum collection, ‘SAM On Tour – Craftivism: Dissident Objects and Subversive Forms’, which features the work of 18 contemporary Australian artists and artist collectives, among others.
Geelong Gaol Museum
The Geelong Gaol Museum also reopened on the weekend. Located in the Old Geelong Gaol, the most intact 19th century prison, visitors can once again experience the brutal conditions prisoners endured over its 138-year history along with displays telling the history of this three-story bluestone behemoth. The museum will be open from 1pm – 4pm.
Convent Gallery Daylesford
Another one to put on the to-do list is Australian tourism award-winner the Convent Gallery in Daylesford, which has been back open since June 1. Uniting history, spirituality, art and culture all under one roof, The Convent houses seven galleries featuring work by over 100 local, national and international artists. Featuring fine art, sculpture, limited edition prints, ceramics, glassware and textiles, the exhibition program, changing every eight weeks, showcases a diverse array of traditional and contemporary artwork.
Latrobe Regional Gallery
The Latrobe Regional Gallery (LRG), one of the largest public galleries in eastern Victoria, has also opened their doors. Open seven days a week from 11am-4pm, LRG has three inspiring and diverse exhibitions currently on show. Visitors can celebrate women who have transformed traditional methods of making with ‘Contemporary Women’, explore intimacy and absence with ‘Small Town Fetish’, or get lost in thought and illumination with ‘Any Which Way’. The gallery will be enforcing the use of hand sanitiser when entering the venue, recording contact details, and limits on the number of people who can be inside each Gallery at any one time.
All of the above venues will be required to abide by the Chief Health Officer’s directions for the number of people allowed to occupy spaces. For more information, visit the venue websites.