Perth is home to a buzzing art scene that can be found not only in traditional galleries but a wide variety of venues, whether you enjoy viewing your art from a café chair sipping a coffee, or strolling past expertly curated works in our very own national gallery, there is something for all types of enthusiasts. While international cities like Berlin, London and New York are known for their well-established art world, our lesser-known Perth is home to an equally lively and engaging scene. Perhaps a little spread out and hard to find, we’ve done the work for you and picked our five hidden gems around Perth City and Fremantle.
The Art Gallery of Western Australia – Perth Cultural Centre, Open 10am to 4pm Wednesday to Monday
We begin our journey in the centre of the city. Home to our State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia, houses historic Modern British, Australian and Aboriginal works, as well as temporary modern exhibitions and emerging West Australian talent. If Museums aren’t your cup of tea, the works of Frederic McCubin and Hans Heysen, are a wonderful alternative to gain insight into the atmosphere and history of the European settlement with beautiful oil interpretations of our unique Australian landscape. Teamed with Aboriginal works from renowned indigenous artists Kaapa Tjampitjinpa and Alec Mingelmanganu, The Art Gallery of Western Australia delivers a strong sense of the cultural traditions of its original inhabitants.
Outré Gallery – 260 William St, Perth City, Open 10.30am-5.30pm
Moving onto William Street, Outré Gallery is discretely nestled between rows of asian restaurants and independent boutiques, but is home to some of the most interesting works that are conveniently for sale at very friendly prices. Pandering to those who appreciate a more modern aesthetic, Outré Gallery’s walls are filled with colourful works from playful pop surrealism, tiki, lowbrow and underground art, from international artists including Mark Ryden, James Jean and Audrey Kawasaki. A great spot to visit after a delicious bowl of Pho, Outré is an accessible hidden gem in the heart of Northbridge.
Pica Bar – 51 James St Northbridge, Open 10am-5pm Tuesday to Sunday
Planted in Perth’s artistic hub and surrounded by museums, galleries and large street art murals, Pica Bar is the perfect spot to grab a glass of wine and admire artworks after the sun goes down. Residing in a beautiful red brick heritage building, Pica plays an important role in supporting contemporary art in a range of disciplines. With an alfresco bar and café, Pica also offers a great spot for people watching and a good reason to drag along reluctant family or friends who might compromise a visit to an art gallery for the promise of beer and a good cheese platter. Visit their website to find our more about the year round program of changing exhibitions, contemporary dance and theatre.
State Library of Western Australia – 25 Francis St, Perth City, Open 9am-8pm Monday to Thursday, 9.30am-5.30pm Friday and 10am-5.30pm on weekends.
A revelation for most, The State Library is actually home to its very own exhibition space, likely somewhere only students or locals stumble upon whilst borrowing books and making use of its facilities. The library is currently host to an aesthetically beautiful and provocative exhibition titled “Unfinished Business,” revealing the visual stories of thirty Indigenous Australians by photographer Belinda Mason and filmmakers Knierim Brothers. The striking kaleidoscopic portraits move when viewed from different angles and are stunning representations of both subject and their story. You can view the exhibition on the ground floor gallery of The State Library until the 3rd of June.
The Fremantle Arts Centre – 1 Finnerty St, Fremantle, Open daily 10am-5pm
Heading west to Fremantle, it is hard to believe when walking the grounds of The Fremantle Arts Centre, that this peaceful oasis was once an asylum. Built in the mid 1800’s by convicts, it’s early purpose served as a “Convict Establishment and Lunatic Asylum,” finding salvation through the efforts of Sir Frederick Samson, old Mayor of Fremantle, who’s vision of an arts center back in the 50’s is still going strong. Walking through the grounds today with its expansive green landscape, shaded by trees and a large stone building, the Fremantle Arts Centre is alive with music concerts, a bustling café, art workshops and a beautiful exhibition space. Currently hosting a colourful variety of Aboriginal works in the Revealed Exhibition till the 29th of May, The Fremantle Arts Center is our top pick for a relaxing morning admiring art and the beautiful atmosphere it offers.