Things to do in Brisbane

Exploring Brisbane Art Galleries: The Canvas and The Culture

Get your art on at these Brisbane art galleries, where innovation and imagination collide spectacularly.

For years, Brisbane's art community lived in the shadow of Melbourne and Sydney, but those days are gone. After a decades-long artistic renaissance, the city has shaken off its frontier-town reputation and established itself as one of Australia's cultural hubs.

With that transformation, a slew of art galleries have emerged. Some are traditional, and others are boundary-busting. Whether your tastes lean more toward Johannes Vermeer or Jeff Koons, Brisbane art galleries have something to whet your aesthetic appetite.

There's so much variety that discovering new installations and exhibitions has become one of our favorite things to do in Brisbane.

South Brisbane

Once upon a time, Brisbane's South Bank was one of the city's seediest industrial districts. Today, this buzzing neighborhood is a hotspot for art, culture, and entertainment.

1. Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)

The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art are collectively known as QAGOMA in Brisbane. These galleries are part of a massive cultural complex that stretches along the Brisbane River from the Kurilpa Bridge to the South Bank ferry terminal.

Both galleries boast diverse and deliciously eclectic collections, with an emphasis on Australian artists. What sets QAGOMA apart, however, is its exuberant approach to temporary exhibits. From fairy tales to LEGO dinosaurs, each is a joyful celebration of color and form.

This unabashed creativity appeals to both novices and connoisseurs, ensuring a thrilling experience for all types of visitors. In other words, you don't need to be an expert or an art historian to feel inspired.

2. State Library of Queensland

QAGOMA visitors often pass by one of the hidden art galleries in Brisbane: the Australian Library of Art at the State Library of Queensland.

Head up to Level 4 to find the showcase, which features some of the rarest items in the library. The displays change regularly, so you never know if you'll see original sketches of Australian wildlife or artifacts from the early days of bookbinding.

If you're passionate about design, stop by the Asia Pacific Design Library on Level 2. It's home to one of Australia's finest collections of art books, magazines, and videos. Don't be surprised to find yourself curled on a cozy chair next to a stack of colorful tomes.

Brisbane Central Business District

Tucked into a bend in the Brisbane River, the CBD is the beating heart of the city. Scattered among the skyscrapers and gleaming office buildings, you'll find a selection of exceptional art galleries. Have energy and curiosity to spare? This area is also home to some of the best museums in Brisbane.

3. Museum of Brisbane

If you're short on time, the Museum of Brisbane is a compact space that packs a cultural punch. Occupying Level 3 of the grand Brisbane City Hall building, it's centrally located and well curated.

The artwork is interspersed with educational displays, giving you an evocative and multidimensional perspective on the history of Brisbane and Queensland as a whole. On some days, the artists in residence are on hand to give informal talks about their installations.

You only need an hour or two to explore the exhibits in the museum proper. If you prefer a more personal experience, sign up for a free tour of the collection highlights. Have a little extra time? The museum also offers free tours of the clock tower and City Hall.

4. QUT Art Gallery

The QUT Art Museum displays revolving pieces from Queensland University of Technology's art collection and temporary exhibitions by Australian artists.

This is a particularly good place to dive into First Nations art. Curators often seek out installations that explore Indigenous peoples' historical and current experiences. As a university gallery, the QUT Art Museum is innovative and inclusive.

The exhibits are relevant and thought-provoking, encouraging you to challenge long-held perceptions. Whether you're a cerebral or emotional art enthusiast, finding something to appreciate is easy. And since the museum is small, you can process each piece without feeling rushed.

Fortitude Valley

The Scottish immigrants who once settled in Fortitude Valley could never have imagined what the area would become — a lively entertainment district with an interesting mix of characters. The neighborhood is well-connected by public transport, so it's a breeze to reach the local museums.

5. Institute of Modern Art

Searching for contemporary art installations that force you to think deeply about current issues? The Institute of Modern Art delivers. IMA artists never shy away from difficult topics. They explore them headfirst, revealing insights through a variety of media.

You might encounter a group show about caring for others or a video exhibit exploring the plight of displaced people. The art provides a unique lens through which you can examine the concept and draw your own conclusions.

If that all seems a bit heady, consider attending one of the museum's events. The guest artists and lecturers excel at bringing a personal touch to even the most challenging works.

6. Jan Murphy Gallery

Of all the art galleries in Brisbane, the Jan Murphy Gallery might be the most inviting. The staff are famously friendly, always ready to answer a question or provide an interesting tidbit. If you feel intimidated by galleries, there's no better place to break the ice.

The gallery is a bright and airy space. The calming atmosphere encourages you to take your time, whether you're there to admire the latest exhibit or find a piece for your personal collection. Don't miss pieces by the gallery's Protégé artists, a group of up-and-coming creatives from Brisbane and beyond.

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New Farm

Nestled among the residential areas and oh-so-hip commercial zones of New Farm, you'll find some of the most unassuming (and excellent) art galleries in Brisbane, QLD. Cap off your gallery visit with a stroll along the river or drop by one of the area's adorable cafés.

Artisan coffee and farm-to-table fare abound, so it's one of the best places to celebrate Mother's Day in Brisbane.

7. Edwina Corlette

When it comes to work that's eye-catching and fascinating, the Edwina Corlette gallery holds its own among the Brisbane galleries. This is a place you'll want to return to again and again. The ever-changing displays enthusiastically represent the evolving artistic landscape in Australia. You might even find a new favorite artist.

We encourage you to approach the welcoming and knowledgeable staff members, who offer wells of fascinating insights. Some of the most interesting discussions in the city happen inside these four walls. Even if you're not ready to contribute to the discourse, the gallery is a wonderful place to revive your creative spark.

8. TWFineArt

The contemporary artists at TWFineArt offer a bold (and occasionally cheeky) take on the world as we know it. No matter what's on display, you're guaranteed to come away feeling enlightened and entertained. Many pieces favor bold colors and abstract styles, which gives the space a vibrant feel.

The most exciting way to reach the gallery is aboard the CityCat ferry. Get off at the Teneriffe ferry station, and you'll be a short walk from the front door.

West End

With its youthful, multicultural population, the West End is one of Brisbane's rising artistic districts. It's an extremely walkable area. You can spend a pleasant afternoon strolling the streets, popping into shops and galleries as you go.

9. Milani Gallery

The Milani Gallery experience begins before you walk in the door. The building's striking, modern architecture sets the tone for your visit. This aesthetic continues inside, where the ultra-simple gallery design focuses on the unique gathering of contemporary works. The soaring ceilings of the former warehouse give each piece room to breathe.

At Milani, you'll discover pieces by Australian and international artists. Each new exhibition uses the unique industrial space differently, cultivating a one-of-a-kind experience for the city's art lovers. Displays change regularly, so make sure to check the calendar for upcoming shows.

Bowen Hills

North of Fortitude Valley lies the suburb of Bowen Hills. Local galleries embrace the neighborhood's industrial past, seamlessly incorporating stark elements and rough textures into the design of each space.

10. FireWorks Gallery

FireWorks Gallery is one of the pioneer galleries in Brisbane. It's been in business since 1993 and focuses on displaying Indigenous and non-Indigenous work in the same space. All the pieces are housed in a beautifully repurposed industrial building with towering, wood-beamed ceilings and plenty of light.

It's charmingly rustic and always inviting. FireWorks Gallery is one of our favorite places to discover new Brisbane artists. The gallery features contemporary works from a range of artists and has a regular lineup of shows and exhibitions. Nothing is off-limits. Pieces include paintings, sculptures, and new media works, among others.

11. artisan

Craft and design take center stage at the artisan gallery + store. This spirited gallery should be your first stop if you're drawn to three-dimensional pieces. Installations are curated to make a big, bold statement before pulling you in to examine the details up close. It's a riot of color, texture, and sheer delight.

Keep the energy going with a stop in the artisan store. Here, shelves overflow with quirky pieces that spark joy in any design-lover's soul. It's the perfect place to find unique gifts for yourself or someone else, including handmade jewelry and home decor.


With its atmospheric restaurants and happening vibe, Woolloongabba — or Gabba, as the locals call it — is irresistible. If you happen to be exploring this part of Brisbane, don't miss out on the art scene.

12. Woolloongabba Art Gallery

Can't get enough historic architecture? Woolloongabba Art Gallery will be love at first sight. The building itself is a work of art. Our performers are always charmed by its frontier-town flair.

Inside, three exhibition spaces feature a remarkably varied selection of work from artists across Australasia. As a proudly multicultural organization, we appreciate the gallery's genuine care for each creator's cultural background and influence.

When you're done in the exhibition spaces, stop by the bar and restaurant on the ground floor. With its sleek decor, craft cocktails, and French cuisine, it extends the inspirational vibe of the galleries above.

Saint Lucia

Home to the University of Queensland, Saint Lucia has a youthful, worldly feeling. After exploring the nearby galleries, make time for a stroll through the lovely campus.

13. UQ Art Museum

When you visit the UQ Art Museum, take time to participate in the innovative “cultural mediation” practice. Instead of a typical guided tour, you'll examine the exhibitions while chatting with a staff member about what you see. It's a wonderful opportunity to ask questions and engage deeply with art, regardless of your experience level.

Whether you try mediation or go it alone, the UQ Art Museum will make an impression. It embraces the university environment, prioritizing pieces that explore the place of art in an educational setting. If you're interested in the latest artistic methods and practices, this should be the first stop on your Brisbane gallery tour.

Other Notable Mentions

Up to 75% of the Indigenous artwork on the market in Australia is inauthentic. That's why the following art galleries are so important. They provide a space to connect enthusiasts and collectors with legitimate works.

14. Birrunga Gallery

The Birrunga Gallery is one of the most important Indigenous arts centers in the city. This Brisbane powerhouse is part art gallery, part café, and part creative space. Led by artist Birrunga Wiradyuri, it aims to be a safe and vibrant place for First Nations artists to nurture and develop their work.

For visitors, Birrunga Gallery is a feast for the senses. Start with an immersive tour of the exhibitions with a resident artist and finish with a meal in the on-site café. Many of the dishes feature native influences and indigenous spices you won't find anywhere else.

15. Aboriginal Art Co.

Explore Australia's rich Indigenous art landscape at Aboriginal Art Co., which is laser-focused on creating an ethical and culturally sensitive market for authentic First Nations art in Australia.

In the Brisbane gallery, you can see pieces by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. Some are new and groundbreaking, while others offer a modern spin on traditional art forms that have been around for thousands of years.

Our performers can't resist a visit to the gallery's store, which features unique clothing, sculptures, prints, and more. If you're interested in buying a piece of genuine Indigenous art, it's hard to find a better spot.

A Journey Through Brisbane's Art Galleries

Venture into any of these world-class Brisbane art galleries to find a thriving scene filled with artists who are boldly shaping the next frontier of art and self-expression.

Our performers and creative team embrace a similar spirit. We dare ourselves (and our audience members) to discard the constraints of reality and march fearlessly into a world of dreams. Join us at our shows in Brisbane to discover a new form of artistic inspiration.

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