Arts Flashback

To celebrate Arts Victoria's 40th anniversary we've hit the archives
and uncovered some choice moments in the development of
Victoria's arts sector.

Click on the images below to view the stories and photo galleries, share them with others, and find out how Victoria grew to be the arts and cultural powerhouse it is today.

Logo of the Arts Victoria 78 Crafts festival – Courtesy of Public Record Office Victoria
Logo of the Arts Victoria 78 Crafts festival – Courtesy of Public Record Office Victoria

1975 and 1978

Year-long Arts Victoria Festivals

'Arts Victoria' – One of the first major initiatives of the new Ministry for the Arts, was the creation of a major year-long arts festival to be held in Victoria every three years. Bearing the general title 'Arts Victoria', each festival was a state-wide celebration of a particular artform.


The first Arts Victoria festival, focusing on the visual arts, was held in 1975, with more than 200 exhibitions in Melbourne and at the 16 State-supported regional galleries.

Regional highlights ranged from the landscapes of Swiss-born, Australian painter Louis Buvelot at Bendigo Art Gallery to contemporary sculpture in Mildura. In Melbourne, young artists were invited to paint large street posters in public spaces.

The second festival, held in 1978, was dedicated to Crafts. Highlights included the creation of an arts path in Fitzroy Gardens, incorporating 10,000 tiles decorated by Victorians on the opening day of the festival; six international artists/craftspeople-in-residence; and an exhibition at the Metropolitan Meat Market in North Melbourne. The Market had recently been purchased by the Victorian Government and was being transformed into the Meat Market Craft Centre.

The triennial Arts Victoria festivals carried on into the mid-1980s with Music '81 and Dance '84.

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