Seven new gallery spaces to visit this summer


As we move toward the end of 2022, another year of many changes and adjustments, one thing for certain is that Australia holds strong in celebrating art and culture. From a pop-up space through to an Indigenous owned and governed gallery, here’s seven new gallery spaces to visit this summer.


When Victorian College of the Arts academics Sean Lowry and Kim Donaldson began conversations with a Melbourne-based family interested in launching a new and innovative exhibition space in the city centre, they were intrigued by the possibilities. As artist-curators, Lowry and Donaldson have long been interested in offering new ways to present the visual arts within contemporary culture—and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

The result is Project8 in Collins Street, one of a range of new galleries that have opened recently, despite the dire effects of the pandemic on the arts industry. Bringing fresh spaces and ideas to the sector, Project8 has already had an impact with its way of occupying a ‘between’ space—combining the strategies of a research-led university environment with that of a commercial gallery and that of an artist-run initiative.

“We are interested in what that means, and how they can work together,” Lowry says. “Despite the connections between all those art worlds, they still exist in quite distinct ontologies. We are not only interested in the idea of the artist as curator and its historical model, but also in research and collaboration as central to a curatorial program. We see the connective tissue between [art] works as a creative work in itself.”

Project8’s program is distinctly inter-disciplinary with, for example, one show mixing sculptural work with def-metal music. The 2023 program will explore complex entanglements in fields such as culture-and-nature, leisure, food and abstraction, looking at them through multiple lenses.

Project8 Gallery: Sounds of Unridden Waves, Exhibition view: THE GHOSTS OF NOTHING.
Project8 Gallery: Sounds of Unridden Waves, Exhibition view: THE GHOSTS OF NOTHING.


APY Gallery Melbourne

Also recently opening in Melbourne is APY Gallery Melbourne. Along with its sister galleries in Sydney and Adelaide, they are the only Anangu-owned galleries in the country (Anangu are the people of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara [APY] Lands). Operations manager Joanna Byrnes says the new Docklands branch celebrates the work of early career Indigenous artists from remote and regional South Australian Art Centres and, like the other APY galleries, forms a culturally appropriate space for artists and artworkers to engage in urban-based training and professional development not possible in home communities.

APY galleries promote ethical production and sales with a commission structure that sees 80 per cent of retail prices returned to Art Centres, Byrne says. “To have a gallery here, particularly an Anangu-owned and governed one, is hopefully to enhance and enrich Melbourne’s thriving and bustling arts scene,” she says.

APY Gallery Melbourne: George Cooley, 125 x 94 cm, acrylic on board.
APY Gallery Naarm (Melbourne): 34 Tom Thumb Lane, Docklands. Images from the opening night of George Cooley’s, The Breakaways and Alfred Lowe’s, Code-switch (November 2022). These exhibitions will be open until 4th December.


Lennox St Gallery

Not far away in Richmond, the long-established Metro Gallery (in Armadale for 21 years) has moved to become the Lennox St Gallery. Of the five philanthropists who founded it, only one remains and, along with a partner, the desire to put a personal stamp on it led to the rebranding.

The gallery’s marketing manager, Lola McCaughey, says the move is into the former premises of another Richmond-based institution, Hellas Cakes. “The owners proudly shared with us the fact that among their regular and most faithful customers was none other than Mirka Mora, who usually sat in her favourite spot in the middle of the cafe across from the front door,” McCaughey says. Other artists, writers, and creatives have told her Hellas Cakes was also their favourite haunt. “So, in a way, by operating from their renovated premises, the rebranded Metro Gallery will continue serving Australia’s diverse and multicultural arts community.” Lennox St’s 2023 program includes several solo shows and the gallery is also embarking on artists’ talks, book launches, lectures and education seminars.

Lennox St Gallery, Image courtesy of Lennox St Gallery.



Sullivan+Strumpf has also opened a Melbourne branch—a landmark in Sydney since 2005 (along with a Singapore office), the gallery’s founders Ursula Sullivan and Joanna Strumpf say they have long wanted to extend to Victoria. “With so many wonderful opportunities and developments on the horizon, like the National Gallery of Victoria Contemporary Gallery, we felt like the timing was right. We look forward to building on the relationships we have established in Melbourne over the years and nurturing new ones, and to providing an exciting new platform for our artists.”

Sullivan+Strumpf has worked with architects Flack Studio to create a Collingwood gallery offering viewers a unique experience. “Operating as sister galleries, the Sydney and Melbourne spaces feel familiar yet have distinctly original personalities,” they say. After a Tony Albert solo exhibition, 2023 will see a group show followed by solo offerings from Sam Jinks, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Ry David Bradley, Yang Yongliang, Karla Dickens and Jemima Wyman.

Sullivan+Strumpf Melbourne: Tony Albert, Remark Abstract i, 2022, acrylic and vintage appropriated fabric on canvas, 200 x 300 cm.


Curatorial+Co Gallery

Also in Collingwood is a new pop-up from Curatorial+Co Gallery. Founder Sophie Vander opened the Redfern gallery at the height of the pandemic lockdowns in Sydney. It thrived: the new pop-up show in Melbourne (featuring women artists) has been long in the making and is a nod to the Melbourne collectors who support Vander’s enterprise.

Curatorial+Co: Dureau, Oceanic Histories, 36cm x 46cm.
Curatorial+Co: Amy Wright, Wistful and Wilds.


South East Centre for Contemporary Art (SECCA)

Melbourne, of course, isn’t the only place getting fresh ideas: in Bega, on the NSW south coast, the new South East Centre for Contemporary Art (SECCA) will open this summer. A $3.5m redevelopment of the 30-year-old Bega Valley Regional Gallery, it vastly expands exhibition, archive, storage and workshop spaces behind a new façade.

South East Centre for Contemporary Art (SECCA). Image courtesy of SECCA.
South East Centre for Contemporary Art (SECCA). Image courtesy of SECCA.


Bromley Collection Museum

In Central Victoria, the Old Castlemaine Gaol, purchased in 2018 by artist David Bromley and partner Yuge Bromley, is set to open in January as the Bromley Collection Museum. The extraordinary space, decommissioned as a prison in 1990, will house Bromley’s work in the courtyards, interiors and front gardens overlooking the town.

Bromley Collection Museum. Image courtesy of the Bromley Collection Museum.
Bromley Collection Museum. Image courtesy of the Bromley Collection Museum.
Feature Words by Andrew Stephens