The CAE is located in the heart of Melbourne’s central business district, in close proximity to some of the best restaurants, venues and activities the city has to offer. Considering the large variety of arts-focused short courses on offer at the CAE, we decided to share some of the best free art exhibitions offered near our city campus.  

These five cultural institutions are a part of Melbourne’s buzzing art scene, each showcasing historical, contemporary and fascinating art forms. We highly recommend taking a look at one or all of them next time you’re visiting the CAE.  

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Art of Dr Seuss Gallery 

The well-known Dr Seuss is a pseudonym for American children’s author and cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel. Dr Seuss authored and illustrated over 60 children’s books, as well as hundreds of political cartoons, advertisements and editorials with his distinctive surrealist style and characters.  

The Art of Dr Seuss is located in Melbourne’s historic Block Arcade building on Collins Street, a perfect example of late Victorian-era architecture. The Gallery explores Dr Seuss’s creative genius and showcases lesser-known artworks to redefine his contribution to contemporary American art.  

Young and Jackson – Chloe’s Room 

Famous French figure painter Jules Joseph Lefebvre presented ‘Chloe’ at the Paris Salon Exhibition in 1875 to critical acclaim. So, how does a 19th-century figure painting of a parison girl end up in a pub in Melbourne? 

The painting was purchased by Dr Thomas Fitzgerald of Melbourne and caused quite the scandal when lent to the NGV for exhibition, being removed only several weeks later. After Dr Fitzgerald’s death in 1909 the painting was purchased by the Young and Jackson hotel and put on display in the public bar. Unlike the NGV, the punters didn’t mind having Chloe for the company and she went on to break many hearts.  

 The Young and Jackson sits directly across from Flinders Street Station and the painting can still be visited today. Chloe’s room is the perfect place to enjoy a drink and take in some history, with the painting now worth five million dollars and protected by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).  

National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)  

The first stop for art lovers visiting Melbourne CBD, located conveniently across two city locations, NGV International on St Kilda Road and the Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square. The NGV is the oldest and most visited gallery in Australia, founded in 1861 and now home to more than 76,000 artworks that span a millennia.  

The NGV International hosts thousands of works of art set across multiple levels, each section spanning centuries, styles, forms and disciplines, from the renaissance to contemporary, sculpture and indigenous art. Visit the Ian Potter Centre to discover Australia’s most preeminent and prolific artists and artworks, the gallery is the largest one dedicated exclusively to Australian art. The Galleries are open 10 am-5 pm seven days a week and it’s free for anyone to enter, with the exception of some paid exhibitions.  

Hosier Lane 

This one laneway needs no introduction, Melbourne’s renowned bluestone laneway is dedicated to street art. Hosier Lane is alight with bright colours, characters and shapes – celebrating street art, stencil art and graffiti. These subversive and highly contested art forms have found a home on Hosier Lane and put urban art in Melbourne on the map internationally. 

 The Laneway is constantly changing, teeming with visitors photographing the iconic street and artist’s eager to leave their mark. It’s not uncommon to find artists working during the day, making it a truly immersive experience. 

State Library Victoria  

The State Library Victoria opened in 1854 and is Australia’s oldest public library, distinguished by the classic colonial architecture and sprawling front steps. The library is both a social centre for people in Melbourne and a cultural hub for exhibitions, education and history.  

Providing a place for anyone to study, with the impressive Latrobe reading room at the centre. Take your time to explore the multiple free art and education exhibits set out across different galleries in the building.  

The highlight would be a free guided tour – the World of Books tour starts on the fourth floor and covers the history of books and a look at the library’s personal repository of rare books. Taking participants all the way up a dome gallery to the top floor where you can enjoy an aerial view of the Latrobe reading room.  

Feeling inspired? We love all things art at the CAE and provide a huge selection of dedicated short courses all year round.  

Upcoming Art Short Courses  

Ceramic Craft Short Course

Oil Painting: For Beginners

Drawing: Beginners

Sculpting for Beginners

Linocuts: Hand Colouring