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Montsalvat Arts Centre

Home > Melbourne > Art | Historic Houses
Published July 12th 2010
Montsalvat is not only Australia's oldest and most renowned artists' colony but also home to many artists including painters, instrument-makers, sculptors and jewellery-makers. It is located in Eltham, a 40-minute drive from the city center.

Established by Justus Jörgensen in 1938, Montsalvat is a working non-profit arts centre. Nestled in 12 acres of luxurious gardens, the complex is built in a bucolic setting - boasting of historic buildings (most built before World War II), mud brick cottages, the popular Great Hall and The Meeting Pool restaurant. There are several ponds too, all replete with beautiful white swans.

While the Great Hall hosts many exhibitions and functions, the other range of spaces are available to hire for artistic activities. For a list of exhibitions and future events, check out the What's On page.

There are many classes and workshops for activities like painting, guitar-building, et al. But even if you're not keen on joining a class, you'll be mesmerised by the beauty and peace of the place.

Montsalvat's visionary initiative called the 'Artists in Residence' is contrived to help artists foster their creative pursuits and carry on research in a conducive and flourishing environment. It provides free accommodation, a work area, access to The Pool Studio, White Barn Studio and Sue Vanderkelen Room apart from a shared kitchen and bathroom facilities for two to six weeks.

So if you're a sculptor or film maker, a performing artist or musician, a writer or visual artist, an architect or instrument maker, a composer or new media artist, this could be your Shangri-la. You would not only get a chance to contribute to the various events and educational programs conducted at Montsalvat, but also learn much from artists belonging to different domains. To read more about the program or apply for residency, click here.

The place is open for hire for corporate functions, photography and TV shoots and other events. The entire premises can be booked (including the restaurant) for events such as weddings, banquets, personal celebrations, business lunch, meetings, presentations, photo shoots and more.

Montsalvat also welcomes volunteers for roles such as gardening, fundraising, festival staff, historians, tour guides, promotions etc. For further details click here.

To obtain multiple free entries, you can purchase a membership, which will also earn you an invitation to the Friends of Montsalvat annual event. The yearly membership costs $55 for adults, $45 for people with concessions or $110 for a family.

And after you've satiated your love for nature, art and history, you must feast your stomach at The Meeting Pool restaurant with its impressive bill of fare. The food is great, the service – friendly and the ambience – marvellous.

Keeping with the style of the complex, the interiors of the restaurant have been done in an impressive olde worlde manner. There's indoor and outdoor seating available - both offering great views. To give you a glimpse: peacocks meandered around the restaurant as we eased our forks in the delectable food. You can check the menu and opening hours here.

Montsalvat is a place where artists draw inspiration, peace-lovers find comfort, event organisers discover rustic beauty, foodies feast their palate and even if you're not one of them, you too shall find your share of blissfulness.
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Why? To experience Australia's oldest and one of the most idyllic artists' colonies.
When: Anytime.
Where: 7 Hillcrest Avenue, Eltham VIC.
Cost: Zilch, if you're just visiting.
I have been to Montsalvat Arts Centre. Its lovely. In the hills and has some wonderful art. Or it did the day I went there. The Cafe is great too and those huge eucalypts create a great atmosphere for all.
By Jody Kimber - senior reviewer
Tuesday, 19th of April @ 01:11 am
It is one of my favourite places in Melbourne. Adore the art, the location, the greenery, the peacocks and can’t stop raving about the food. It’s amazing how this quiet place shrieks with creative energy. I know the can’t-get-enough-of-it bit is hopelessly trite but it couldn’t be truer for my love for the place.
By A Behl - senior writer
Wednesday, 29th of June @ 05:57 am
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