THERE'S no denying Ballarat is home to one of regional Australia's most vibrant arts scenes, and here's how you can experience it for yourself.
The city centre is dotted with an array of stunning galleries and museums of all shapes and forms, sure to keep you in awe for hours on end. Here is a gallery trail worth exploring upon your next visit.
1. Art Gallery of Ballarat - start your trek at Australia's oldest and largest regional art gallery and marvel at the gilt-framed colonial artworks as well as the contemporary and indigenous pieces. Make sure to check out the temporary exhibitions as well, which always draw quite the crowd.
2. Backspace Gallery - behind the AGB you'll find the City of Ballarat's Backspace Gallery, housing exhibitions from the city's budding and established artists and ranging a wide variety of mediums. These exhibits are typically quite personal, touching and empowering.
3. The Lost Ones Gallery - situated in the same (Camp Street) arts precinct, this contemporary gallery is housed in a 19th-century Masonic Lodge and plays hosts to regular exhibitions from local and national artists. Head downstairs to the Basement Bar for a nice pick-me-up before or after your visit.
4. Post Office Gallery - around the corner and along the way, the Post Office Gallery is located in Federation University's SMB campus and is adorned with art from the arts faculty's up-and-coming creatives as well as internationally recognised artists. Make sure to visit this space during the Guirguis New Art Prize (GNAP) where you'll find works from some of Australia's most contemporary and major artists.
5. Gallery on Sturt - situated on the main Ballarat thoroughfare Sturt Street, this intimate gallery space and framing shop welcomes some of Australia's most esteemed artists as part of its annual program of exhibitions. For the current exhibition, click here.
6. Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute - immerse yourself in the stories and photos of yesteryear and marvel at the majestic 19th-century architecture. Take a sticky beak into the historic library and see what tales you can unearth.
7. WYATT ART - this intimate space is decked out with the colour, calm and creativity of husband-and-wife duo Jack and Corina Wyatt and is sure to inspire anyone looking to fill their day with happy vibes.
8. A bit further out - make sure to round off your arts and culture experience with a visit to the following museums in and around Ballarat:
- Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka: home to the iconic Eureka Flag
- Creswick Museum: home to the famous Lindsay family of authors and artists
- The Gold Museum: home to the pieces of gold that made Ballarat, including the Welcome Nugget
- Overwrought Sculpture Garden and Gallery: for some outdoor inspiration
- Convent Gallery Daylesford: for a combination of history, spirituality, art and culture
- James Egan Gallery: housing works from one of Australia's most master painters whose art adorns such walls as Buckingham Palace, San Francisco Airport and Moscow Parliament