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Bill Henson, Untitled 1997/2000
Bill Henson, Untitled 1997/2000, 1997-2000. Courtesy of Tolarno Galleries

Celebrating 150 years of art

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.

ART150 reflects upon a rich and distinguished history, which began at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, and looks towards a vibrant future for Australian art and research.

Join us throughout 2017 for an exciting program of exhibitions, workshops, public lectures and events as we celebrate 150 years of art.

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About

Frederick McCubbin, The Morning Train, 1887
The Morning Train (1887), by Frederick McCubbin. Wikimedia Commons.

A century and a half of art

ART150 is a celebration throughout 2017 of the distinguished history of the Victorian College of the Art’s School of Art, its genesis in the National Gallery Art School in the 19th century, its rich 20th-century history and its 21st-century present and future.

We look forward to exploring 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.

Get involved in the celebrations with a range of public events, lectures and workshops taking place throughout the year, and engaging arts commentary and analysis from some of our leading art thinkers. After all, this is your story too.

Welcome to ART150

Melbourne's art school

The Victorian College of the Arts was founded in 1972 under the directorship of Lenton Parr, drawing on the distinguished histories of its many antecedent institutions to provide artists with intensive, specialist, studio-based training and education.

The critical aspects were to value artists as teachers; to recognise that the training of emerging artists was an art form in itself; and that talent-based entry was the most valuable form of assessment but that it needed to be backed by desire and commitment.

Since 2007, the VCA has been part of the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne, where it continues to go from strength to strength.

Lenton Parr and the birth of the VCA
Jon Campbell, Stacks 2016
Stacks On (2016), by Jon Campbell. Courtesy of the artist.
Minna Gilligan, ‘If you want it you got it forever’, 2016, acrylic, spray paint, bleach and ink on found fabric, 121 x 101 cm. Image courtesy of Daine Singer
If you want it you got it forever (2016), by Minna Gilligan. Courtesy of Daine Singer.

Creating the future

The 150-year history of the VCA and its antecedent institutions has involved some of Australia's best-known and most critically-acclaimed artists, whether it's Eugen von Guérard (the first teacher at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School) or heavy-hitting luminaries such as Bertram Mackennal, Arthur Boyd, Clarice Beckett, Frederick McCubbin and Arthur Streeton.

Contemporary, world-renowned alumni such as Patricia Piccinini, Bill Henson, Sally Smart, Ricky Swallow, and Jenny Watson give just a taste of the variety and quality of talent nurtured at VCA Art.

We are understandably proud of our past and our present – but ART150 is also about the future.

The VCA's Southbank campus is currently undergoing major capital works, with the opening of the Buxton Gallery in late 2017 and the redevelopment of Melbourne's historic Dodds Street Police Stables as art studios due to be completed in 2018. Join us in celebrating the Faculty and University's commitment to the training of future generations of leading artists and teachers and, indeed, to enjoy their art.

Visit the VCA website