Unique galleries and museums in Canberra beyond the national collections
Updated 12 Feb 2024
Tuck away into Canberra's best local galleries and museums, each revealing a glimpse into the city's distinct character and charm.
While it is no secret that Canberra boasts some of the country’s most iconic galleries and museums such as the National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, and National Museum of Australia, one of the city's best kept secrets is the thriving local art and culture scene.
Canberra is home to more than 30 galleries that support local, national and international artists - there is no shortage of art in sight. Scattered through the suburbs, these local galleries and museums, which specialise in different mediums, offer an intimate experience where you'll often meet the curators allowing you to engage with the art and the exhibits on a personal level.
From a tiny gallery less than six square metres in size to comprehensive Aboriginal art galleries showcasing Australian Indigenous art with paintings sourced from the 1970s, you'll quickly discover why Canberra is known as Australia's cultural capital.
Gallery of Small Things
Canberra's tiniest gallery, aptly named Gallery of Small Things showcases emerging and established artists in the Visual Arts. It is less than six metres square and brings international, interstate and local artists to a Canberra backyard.
Gallery of Small Things is all about the makers and designers who love texture and form on a miniature scale.
Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre
Neighbouring the Canberra Museuum and Gallery, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre shines a spotlight on designers and makers, and celebrates excellence in all types of craft.
The store is just as stunning as the exhibition space, full of bespoke goods including ceramics, glassware, and textiles. Craft ACT also runs the popular annual DESIGN Canberra festival in November.
Ainslie + Gorman Arts Centres
Twin arts centres, Ainslie and Gorman, host a large collective of professional artists and arts companies a stone's throw from the city centre. If it takes a village to raise an artist, this is the village.
Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres are located just 400 metres apart from one another in Braddon.
Established by an artist as a space for experiencing, making and processing art, Grainger Gallery has revolving exhibitions and studio workshops throughout the year.
Nestled in the popular Dairy Road Precinct, you can also enjoy an afternoon at the nearby brewery, gin distillery, chocolaterie, or bouldering gym.
Heritage treasures from Australian artist Norman Lindsay sit alongside exquisite Indigenous artworks that celebrate the land at this inspiring gallery in Gold Creek Village.
Canberra Museum and Gallery
This museum and gallery tells Australian stories through both historic objects and art. Follow artist Sidney Nolan’s creative journey or explore four key periods of Canberra’s development.
Canberra Glassworks is Australia’s leading centre for contemporary glass art, craft and design, celebrating the beauty and versatility of glass in a new light and housed in the historic Kingston Power House. Take a self-guided tour and discover some of Canberra's heritage at this contemporary glass centre, the only one of its kind in Australia.
What's on at the Canberra Museum and Gallery
Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery
Located in Gold Creek Village with a sister gallery in the city centre, Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery is a must-see destination for Aboriginal art collectors. Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery has been bringing Aboriginal art to Canberra since 1989.
Ethical practices are at the heart of the Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery which works with Indigenous artists from across Australia to protect artists’ rights and source beautiful paintings and crafts available for purchase.
Burrunju Art Gallery
At this gallery, every wall is filled with inspiring pieces. Specialising in boomerangs, didgeridoos, and paintings, this space was established to provide local Indigenous people an opportunity to realise their dream of self-determination through the creation of artworks and music. Purchase your favourite piece to support great artists local to the region and from all around Australia.
With three galleries that change exhibitions every three weeks, there’s always something new to see at M16 Artspace. The space, located in the inner south suburb of Griffith exudes a contagious, artistic energy managing 25-plus artist studios and housing five arts organisations that offer art classes.
Belconnen Arts Centre
Belco Arts, as the locals call it, is a place to undertake creative journeys, share stories and celebrate talented Canberrans. Showcasing local creatives that specialise in everything from dancing through to painting, this centre champions many emerging artists.
Scott Leggo Gallery
Located in Kingston, Scott Leggo Gallery is Canberra's only permanent landscape photography gallery.
The gallery features a selection of Scott's photos available as framed prints, unframed prints, acrylic wall mounts and gifts including acrylic desk blocks, small framed prints, and jigsaw puzzles.
A two-storey gallery, downstairs showcases restored antique furniture whilst upstairs is devoted to Chinese furniture from the 18th to early 20th century. Admire the intricate handmade joinery and marvel at the skills of traditional craftsmen before exploring the upper level art gallery which hosts local, emerging artists' exhibitions.
Learn about the symbolism built into antiques as well as the influence of western furniture. Located in Fyshwick, after you've marvelled at Humble House explore the nearby marketplace of local crafters and antique sellers at Dirty Janes Canberra.
Tuggeranong Arts Centre
Located in Canberra's south, Tuggeranong Arts Centre is a creative hub and gathering place which connects people, creates new experiences, and celebrates the arts.
Their creative program offers free exhibitions across three gallery spaces, a live performance program, community engagement activities and a range of workshops and classes and focuses on building audiences to engage and participate in the arts.
Found in the heart of Deakin, Beaver Galleries is Canberra’s largest and longest-established privately owned commercial art gallery.
Three spacious galleries and a dedicated print room feature work in a range of disciplines including painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics and glass. There is also a courtyard sculpture garden and a gallery shop with products by selected Australian designers and makers.
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