Ipswich Art Gallery is a visual arts and social history museum presenting a dynamic program of exhibitions and heritage displays with complementary workshops, performances and an extensive program for children and families.
Embracing an audience-centred approach to everything we do, we will make art come to life for the benefit of the Ipswich community, growing and diversifying our audience locally and regionally.
Programs for Kids
Ipswich Art Gallery takes play seriously. Our goal is to create dynamic pathways for lifelong relationships with art. We believe that children are important members of our community who should be encouraged to express and develop their ideas.
Structured around our guiding principles, our exhibition program aims to celebrate the spontaneous creativity within each child.
The Gallery's exhibition program focuses on ways to make art meaningful to all audiences: new and existing, non-specialist and scholarly, young and old, traditional and non-traditional, regardless of whether they are already familiar with art or art galleries.
Exhibitions are selected and developed to create pathways for lifelong relationships with the Gallery through welcoming experiences and innovative, high-quality programming that appeals to families, young professionals, new audiences, and seasoned museum visitors of all ages.
The Gallery's history
The Ipswich Art Gallery was opened in the foyer of the Town Hall in March 1951. In 1980 the Gallery was relocated to the former St Paul’s Young Men’s Hall (now the Ipswich Community Gallery), gaining its first professional Gallery Director in 1985. After extensive community consultation and with the support of donations made to the Ipswich Arts Foundation, the Gallery was relaunched in 1999 and once again sited in the beautifully restored old Town Hall.
About our building
Our heritage-listed building was originally the Mechanics’ School of Arts, built for a cost of 150 pounds and opened in 1861 by Governor Bowen. In 1864, the building was extended to the Brisbane Street frontage. By 1869, the Ipswich Municipal Council had moved in and the building became the Town Hall for the people of Ipswich.
For more than a century the Town Hall was a significant site in the public life of Ipswich, playing host to a gala dinner for the Prince of Wales in 1920, wartime dances for American armed forces in the 1940s and everything from roller-skating to immunisation clinics. It was even briefly home to the city’s department store after fire destroyed Reids in 1985.
In 1999, the building was renovated and extended, to again provide the cultural hub of the city. Heritage features have been restored, including the magnificent proscenium arch, scissor beam roof and arched windows. The hall, which was the hub of community life for over 100 years, has taken on a new life as a major public art gallery and museum.
The Ipswich Art Gallery and Ipswich City Council respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners as custodians of the land and waters we share. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, as the keepers of the traditions, customs, cultures and stories of proud peoples.