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The hidden art scene of the Shire

By Rebecca Mason
31 July, 2018

The Shire is renowned for its many outdoor adventures, breath-taking nature and abundance of water activities but for the most part, its art scene has been kept under the radar. From critically acclaimed exhibitions to student created street art, there is a never-ending list of talent sweeping the Shire. Come to explore the local culture or get your creative juices flowing at one of the many artist led classes. Join the ranks as a painter, sculptor or become a pottery expert. Whatever you desire, inspiration is never far away, so grab your paint brushes and explore the hidden art scene of the Shire.  

1. Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre

One of the Shire’s most infamous art offerings is the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre. The art complex, is nestled on 1.4 hectares of beautiful gardens in the suburb of Gymea and draws artists from across the country to exhibit their works. With an ever-changing roster of art, no visit to the arts centre is the same. Currently on display is the electrifying, avant-garde designs of Marion Hall. Be quick, her surprising exhibition of interior design is only available until mid-August. The arts centre also offers classes on a vast range of art forms for all ages including: clay, digital cartoon, still life painting, jewellery making and much more. Prefer motion picture as a form of art? Every Monday, Thursday and Sunday the Film Club descends on the gallery offering a host of award winning films and Art House classics.

2. The Bundeena Maianbar Art Trail 

For a truly unique art experience, nothing gets more close and personal than the monthly Bundeena Maianbar Art Trail. Occurring on the first Sunday of every month, local artists open their doors and welcome the public to their studios. The acclaimed trail features many well-known artists including the ultimate artist accolade, Archibald prize winners. There are more than 20 artists welcoming you to their workspaces. Peek inside studios filled with paintings, drawings, wood carvings, glassware and more. The trail can be taken by foot or by car, however you travel, the trail offers a glimpse into the working life of true artists. Admission is free, just bring your creative curiosity with you.

3. Art Tunnel - Cronulla

Nothing says local art quite like an amalgamation of talent from students. Untraditional art space; the Tonkin Street rail underpass, has been ignited with life and colour by 12 students from seven Shire schools. The coastal themed artwork was designed to enliven previous murals painted by an earlier generation of students. This is not to be missed on any art expedition, championing public art and elevating local artists.


4. Marion Chapman Workshops

For lovers of watercolour, renowned Sydney artist and former UNSW student, Marion Chapman is a master of the medium. With a vast collection of watercolours inspired by Australian landscapes, Marion not only allows you to peruse and purchase her collection, she also runs frequent workshops so you can become a watercolour expert. Whether it is your first time picking up a brush or you have dabbled in art for years, her masterclasses are a fun way for all levels to advance their skills. Marion also holds children’s classes to make the perfect family rainy-day activity.

5. Something at Mary’s Pottery Classes

Become part of the Shire’s art scene by mastering the art of pottery. Something at Mary’s offers intimate pottery classes for a range of classes catering to all groups, from hen parties to team building workshops. Learn the craft as a beginner or get more detailed with advanced classes. Whatever your skill, you will leave Something at Mary’s with a collection of your very own pottery and a smile on your face.

6. Art Gallery Kurnell

Run by a cooperative of ten local artists, this gallery nestled in historic Kurnell, houses a variety of works from indigenous art, drawings, photography and more. Set on the edge of Botany Bay, the gallery is curated by the co-op of artists to profile unique and original works. Come to browse the array of art and take some home with an offering of reasonably priced pieces. 

7. Cronulla Art Gallery and Interiors

Continue to explore the array of local talent fostered in the Shire with a rotating exhibit of well-known and up and coming artists. The gallery’s walls are covered with beautiful paintings; from serene landscape watercolours to brighter and bolder acrylics. For those with a love of interiors look no further, as the gallery also holds a collection of expertly crafted furniture for you to peruse (and purchase).

8. Street tribute

What can be more flattering than to be immortalised on a three-storey building in your hometown? Shannon Noll, discovered how that felt when he drove through Cronulla to be confronted by his own face plastered on the side of a wall. The street artist, well known Scott Marsh, decided to paint the mural to commemorate the Shire local and sourced the wall through a call out on social media. Stroll down the corner of Kingsway and Wilbar avenue and marvel at the creativity bringing colour to Cronulla’s walls.

9. Walk the Walls

For anyone still unsure of the art scene enveloping the suburbs of the Shire, it is worth mentioning the most recent art experience, Walk the Walls. The initiative was devised by the Sutherland Shire Council and NSW Department of Justice to reduce crime and graffiti, to celebrate the talent of local artists and encourage a community of creativity. Whilst you may have missed the festival, the 1,500 square metres of art can still be found along the streets of Caringbah, harbouring the creativity and culture of the Shire.

Rebecca Mason

Rebecca Mason

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