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The Art Gallery of Western Australia occupies two of three buildings in the Perth Cultural Center, which also houses the State Library of Western Australia. It was founded in 1895, offering a blend of contemporary art and historic works created by indigenous artists. The state’s art collection is displayed in the Gallery of Western Australia.
A spiral staircase offering a view of nine distinct spaces winds through the main gallery, built with a modernist design. The centenary gallery sits in a building that once housed the Perth police courts, a historic building constructed of local stone, stained glass, and a decorative metal ceiling. It opened in 1995 and has housed much of the state’s art collection. One area of the gallery has displayed a courtroom and jail for public viewing.
Exhibits on loan to the Art Gallery of Western Australia over the years have varied from etchings done by famous artists to oil paintings from the 16th century. Works by French Impressionist Claude Monet and the etchings of Norman Lindsay have been featured in the gallery, along with Dutch and French art from the Italian Renaissance period. The art gallery also has houses a selection of photography, crafts, and sculpture.
Once each year, the Art Gallery of Western Australia has displayed work done by art students. These works might include fashion design, paintings, and sculpture. The annual exhibit has given budding artists a place to share their work with the public.
An activity center for children has exposed youngsters to texture and color, with different activities based on age. One area of the center has encouraged children to draw a still-life art piece, using artifacts within the gallery as inspiration. Once completed, the drawing can be taken home or displayed within a special section of the building.
Youngsters also have learned about water conservation and threats to this vital resource through the water walk exhibit. Young visitors have learned about specific artists who used water themes in their art. This activity has been operated through a partnership with Australian water companies. Other special activities, including interactive displays and workshops, have often been planned when school is out of session.
The Art Gallery of Western Australia has operated via a nine-member board of trustees appointed to oversee the collections. Five citizens with expertise in marketing, business, and managerial skills also have sat on the foundation council. They have worked to garner support of the art gallery, with some council members holding a special interest in the arts.