Art trail through Fortitude Valley and New Farm

Art can feel pretty inaccessible at the best of times but, just between us, good art is only as good as the people seeing it – and we think you’re pretty sweet. Below is a guide to the galleries of Fortitude Valley and New Farm so you can spend a day getting your culture on. Just be sure to plan ahead – most of these galleries are closed Sundays and Mondays.  

Getting there

If you’re driving in, park around the Brunswick end of Wickham St and if you’re catching the train in, exit onto Brunswick St. There are a few buses that’ll get you into the Valley. Check out TransLink for public transport help.

Explore the gallery trail

Once you’re in the Valley, orient yourself at the top of the Brunswick Street Mall then wander up for about 10 minutes to Jugglers Art Space. Jugglers is a government-funded art space dedicated to supporting new local artists. It’s not as polished as some of the commercial galleries further up towards New Farm but perhaps that makes it more exciting. Besides, the best place to start an art tour is with the up-and-comers. Jugglers is closed on weekends.

From Jugglers, double back down Brunswick St to pass by the Analogue Gallery Brisbane. Analogue is only open during pop-up exhibitions on the first Thursday of every month, so plan ahead. Entry is via Greaser Bar and this downstairs gallery embraces the underground vibe.

Next, just past Laruche on Ann St you’ll find This Must Be The Place and, for the sake of this list, it is just the place. Like Jugglers and Analogue, This Must Be The Place runs rotating exhibitions but also hosts independent events. Not open Sundays and Mondays.

Trot towards New Farm and you’ll find Artisan on the right-hand side of Brunswick St. The peak craft and design centre of Queensland, Artisan is all about hand-made trades. A mix of upscale craft shop (think designer resin jewellery, silk scarves, letter-pressed goods) and exhibition space, this is the place to find accessories and homewares for your dream loft or outfit.

Across the intersection, the Institute of Modern Art (below and inside the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts) presents an ambitious program of free exhibitions and events by Australian and international artists while “The Judy” houses a fascinating blend of cabaret, circus, dance, music and contemporary performance in its theatre and event spaces.

Lunch in the Valley

If you’re feeling peckish, grab some lunch around here. The Flying Cock is just 100m towards the Mall while Tuckeria, Jatt Flava, Yard Bird, Pig ‘n’ Whistle, and Bloodhound are all across or up the road. 

Into New Farm

Feet to the pavement towards the river again will guide you first to the esteemed Jan Murphy Gallery. Right around the corner on Arthur St is the Philip Bacon Gallery, Brisbane’s leading commercial gallery. If you’re looking for an art experience like you’ve seen in European cinema, this is where you’ll get it. Our last stop on Brunswick St, Edwina Corlette Gallery, is a sparse, straightforward gallery that really focuses on what’s displayed on its wall. All three are shut Sundays and Mondays. Days of rest, we get it.

From here, meander down leafy Kent St for a while before you hit James St. Chat art and hold hands (if it’s a date) as you make your way down this quaint street. Keep an eye out for some truly eccentric houses – you can’t miss the Angels place. Welcome to New Farm.

The turn

At the roundabout on James, head left to hit Suzanne O’Connell Gallery about 100m up. Suzanne specialises in Aboriginal Australian art so there’s no better place to create a connection to ancient cultures. Gallery open 11am to 4pm, Wednesday through Saturday.

Keep walking towards the Valley, turn left down Arthur St and almost exactly halfway down two galleries sit side-by-side. Mitchell Fine Art is housed in a converted industrial space and presents emerging artists the opportunity to hold larger shows, while Heiser Gallery deals mostly with traditional Australian art. Mitchell's closed Sundays and Heiser's shut Sundays and Mondays.

Double back to James St and detour down Doggett St for Bosz Gallery. These familiar, downlit white walls showcase a new wave of contemporary Australian art in the middle of Brisbane’s thriving creative district. Keep an eye open – you might find a breakout artist tucked away. Doors shuttered Sundays and Mondays.

Spin back round down James and duck into Robertson St where you’ll find TWFINEART. This gallery and exhibition space features the only online exhibition of its kind. Match your style to its portfolio without breaking the bank. Pieces you order are even couriered to you. Closed Mondays.

James St

The James St shopping precinct has a few gems. REDSEA Gallery is tucked in a car park. The gallery first opened in Singapore before expanding to Brisbane, and it shows. This one’s really at the higher end of the budget (really) but, if you have fine taste, it’s well worth the trip and the price tag. Open seven days, 9.30 to 5. Closes at 4 on Sundays.

While you’re there, James St is also home to a first-class selection of local designer boutique stores selling all the fashion and accessories you can imagine – art you can wear, really.

Phew. If you haven’t eaten yet, now’s also a great time. Tinderbox Kitchen, Ribs & Burgers, Harveys, Jocelyn’s Provisions, Gerard’s Bistro, and Bucci Restaurant & Bar are all so close to REDSEA your hungry tummy will probably be able to sniff them out for you.

Home stretch

Turn down Ann St towards the city centre. Take your second right down Constance St and cross over Wickham before you arrive at MAAP Space. The Media Art Asia Pacific Space basically hosts what it says on the tin – multimedia artwork from the Oceanic and Asian regions. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm or by appointment. And with that, you've made it!

The Mill on Constance

So you’ve seen more art than you could possibly poke a stick at and walked 1000 miles (or close to it) – you’ll want a drink. Luckily you’re right near The Mill for craft beer. Otherwise, circle back to James St to hit Gerard’s Bar for a great cocktail and charcuterie pairing, or while away the afternoon at Cru Bar with wine. Even if you didn’t score a painting, now you have a collection of conversation pieces for drinks tonight - or any other night, really.

More arts and entertainment