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Explore these 9 art galleries and art trails in the Murray

31 May 2021

From regional galleries punching above their weight, to road trips chasing grain silo murals, The Murray is an unlikely art-lover’s destination.

The large towns and small villages along the river region welcome international artists and support local craftspeople, creating a vibrant arts scene to put on your radar.

To help you discover them for your next holiday, here are the best galleries and places to view art outdoors along The Murray.

1. Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA)

One of Australia’s great regional galleries, MAMA has earned a reputation for taking risks and hosting innovative exhibitions with some of the greatest contemporary artists from Australia and around the world.

At any time, you can find up to six different exhibitions gracing the space, showing the city’s extensive art collection along with some of the most exciting new art in Australia.

The gallery focuses on living artists and telling their stories with lots of interactive workshops, guided tours, art classes and activities for kids.

Drop in for the art, stay for lunch, spend the afternoon shopping Australian designers and then finish with a wine or coffee on the garden terrace.

Oh, and did we mention entry is free?

2. Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery

The first location of this regional gallery was aboard a paddle steamer called Gem.

That was back in 1966 and with a fast-growing permanent art collection the space quickly became inadequate.

Now you can visit this purpose-built gallery, home to Australia’s most comprehensive collection of naive art.

Works from the permanent collection including paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures can be seen alongside exciting touring exhibitions.

Keep an eye out for special events – especially those that make use of the 1923 Steinway & Sons grand piano – and fun activities during school holidays.

3. Mildura Arts Centre

More than just a gallery, the Mildura Arts Centre is the arts and culture hub of north-west Victoria.

Here you’ll find an impressive gallery alongside a 500-seat performing arts theatre, sculpture walk, Rio Vista heritage house and a cafe bar.

If you’re lucky you’ll catch a glimpse of some of Victoria’s best art.

MAC holds the largest single collection of paintings by Anglo-Irish artist Sir William Orpen.

Plus, there’s a pastel by French impressionist painter Edgar Degas (Femme à la baignoire se coiffant) and other works by important Australian artists.

Regular exhibitions and pieces from the permanent collection can be viewed across five gallery spaces.

4. Arts Space Corowa

For a chance to see over a decade of award-winning art from the local Corowa community, stop by Art Space.

Located in the Corowa Civic Building, the gallery’s prized collection – ‘The Corowa Collection – contains a collection of art from the Federation Art and Photographic competition held at the annual Corowa Federation Art Show.

The collection holds over 14 years of history and features works of prominent Australian artists.

5. Chaffey Trail

George and W.B. Chaffey – two Canadian-born brothers – had a bright vision for the future of Mildura.

The Chaffey Trail, named in their honour, takes in the legacy of these early settlers, passing by many glorious buildings and heritage sites around the region.

As you wander the town on a self-guided tour, learn the story of how arid Mildura became an irrigation oasis and ‘Australia’s First Irrigation Colony’.

6. Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk

The Murray River divides and defines the border towns of Albany and Wodonga, so there’s no better place to get to know the area than by the water.

The Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk can be found along the Wagirra Trail, a network of riverside pathways popular for walking and cycling.

This five-kilometre sculpture trail stretches from Kremur Street in West Albury to Wonga Wetlands.

Here you’ll find a series of 11 sculptures created by local Aboriginal artists.

Read about each sculpture, learn about Aboriginal history and discover the cultural significance of the Murray River by scanning the interpretive panels to watch videos on your phone.

Yindyamarra is a word from the local Wiradjuri language. It means respect, be gentle, be polite, and do things slowly. So take your time and enjoy the walk.

7. Koondrook Barham Redgum Statue River Walk

World-renowned chainsaw carvers Kevin Guilders and Angela Polglaze have carved a series of sculptures from local red gum.

Passing through the towns of Koondrook and Barham along the banks of the Murray, take your time admiring the craftsmanship of the works that depict the region’s pioneer men and women and local wildlife.

The Redgum Statue Walk has 18 sculptures, with more added each year.

Be sure to pick up a brochure so you can follow the map and learn more about each piece. Brochures are available at many stores across the towns.

8. The Foundry Arts Space

Located in the heart of the historical Port of Echuca, you don’t need to travel far to don your art critic hat at The Foundry Arts Space while exploring the local attractions.

While the gallery may be housed in the former Old Freemans Foundry building, its contemporary space of exposed brick walls displays art by local and touring artists as well as hosting exhibitions and events throughout the year.

9. Murray Silo Art & Murals Trail

Mural art can be found all over the Murray: from larger-than-life scenes painted on oversized grain silos, to local artists bringing a bright touch to hotel walls and water tanks.

Starting at the Colbinabbin Silo Art and finishing with the parrot on the Picola Silo, this seven-hour drive shows off the passion of the local community and takes you on a grand road trip across the region.

Do it in a day or take a slower pace and turn it into an overnight stay so you can enjoy a few more hearty pub meals along the way.

If you prefer to chase down art outdoors, this is the art trail to follow around the small towns and villages of the Murray.

Don’t forget to share your pictures with #visitthemurray.