In 2001 the world’s art scene turned its gaze to the small island of Tasmania. Their subject? The state’s newly established Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) - the largest privately funded museum in Australia and the only Australian travel experience that offers a vineyard, brewery, accommodation, fine dining, wine bar, cellar door tastings and an internationally significant museum and art gallery.
While the innovative and at times controversial museum may have put Tasmania on the world map in terms of art, the rest of the state has only furthered its reputation, fostering the local art scene to go from strength to strength.
Given Tasmania’s geographical features, it’s not hard to see why art has flourished in such a small part of the country. The state’s natural landscape (an art work in itself) and quiet lifestyle are understandably appealing to artists and the creative process. The island’s small community is also conducive to generating a hub and support network for creatives, attracting a community of artists, writers, designers, performers and in turn galleries, playhouses, museums and markets.
From King Island to Bruny Island, people have found in Tasmania the perfect place to practice their skills and talents, whether it be crafting a handmade cheese, photographing wildlife, writing a best-selling novel or designing an award winning coastal getaway that treads lightly on the landscape.
With a variety and quality of indigenous timbers unequalled in Australia and the world (like Huon pine, King Billy pine, celery top pine, sassafras and myrtle), Tasmania has also become a magnet for designers interested in working with wood. In fact the concentration of craft and design practitioners (as opposed to artists practising in other media) is higher in Tasmania than elsewhere in Australia.
While its local art and entertainment comes as an unexpected delight to travellers, MONA still stands as Tasmania’s biggest drawcard in terms of the arts. The museum is fantastic to visit all throughout the year but is exceptionally popular during its annual MoFo and Dark MoFo events which are rapidly becoming one of Australia’s premiere arts, music and food festivals. The festivals are notably curated by Violent Femmes bass player and Hobart resident Brian Ritchie.
Find out more about our Tasmania holidays.