ART150: VCA celebrates 150 years of art in Melbourne

Artwork by Jake Preval.
Artwork by Jake Preval.

The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) at the University of Melbourne will celebrate 150 years of art in Melbourne with a year-long program of exhibitions, workshops, public lectures and events.

Launching tonight at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery, the program kicks off with the exhibitions Present and Presence, showcasing the work of Melbourne alumni from 1867 to the present.

Artist, alumna, and University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow Sally Smart, whose own new work will be launched in October as part of the program, said one of the drawcard events is a special exhibition including 150 pieces of alumni work in the Margaret Lawrence Gallery.

“We are particularly excited by the 9 x 5 Exhibition in June, inspired by an NGV exhibition in the 1890s of the same name featuring works of alumni the likes of Frederick McCubbin and Arthur Streeton painted on cigar box lids,” Professor Smart said.

“More than 300 alumni from VCA have been invited to submit a work of nine inches by five inches which will be exhibited in the Margaret Lawrence Gallery and offered for sale, with proceeds going towards the newly-created ART150 Scholarship.”

VCA Director Su Baker said Melbourne has a lot to be proud of artistically.

“For 150 years, the Victorian College of the Arts and its predecessor institutions have nurtured the talents of many of Australia’s best-known and most-treasured artists,” Professor Baker said.

“This anniversary promises to be a very exciting year, one that shows the deep historical roots shared between the State Library of Victoria, at which the School of Art was established in 1867, and the University of Melbourne, which, as home to the VCA, continues that lineage today.

“We are also celebrating the present, with new public works on display and artist talks on key alumni such as Jenny Watson, Bertram MacKennal, Arthur Boyd and Clarice Beckett.

“The future will be celebrated with the opening of our new Buxton Gallery in late 2017 and redevelopment of the Police Stables as art studios, all based in and around VCA and the Southbank arts precinct hub of learning and engagement.”