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There is no better way to spend a leisurely weekend or even a midweek day trip to the Barossa, to view some of the best artworks in the country. I have been out and about in the Barossa and viewed some of the exhibitions. Overall, the quality of the art is excellent and of a high standard, with all types of art including photography, sculpture, paintings, jewellery, glass, and much more.
I took the SALA newspaper program and circled some venues I wanted to stop at and a local map of Barossa townships. However, I found some SALA venues a bit tricky to locate. In Tanunda, the main street appears to have no street numbers on the shops so skipped here and went to some venues at local wineries. I met some people along the way who also could not find places, and told me the SALA map online was not correct. I stopped by the Barossa Visitor Centre but they only had a tourist map of the general area, and offered directions to some of the wineries. Astoundingly, at the very end of my day at 5pm, when I left the final venue at the Jam Factory at Seppeltsfield, I was startled to see special SALA maps on the counter. It is not written on them who put out these maps and they were not available at the visitor centre, which I feel is very poor indeed. The map has the numbers that correspond to the SALA program and is easy to navigate.
The next thing you will need to consider is which entry point you are going to start at. You will need to start either at the Lyndoch end, where there are a number of SALA venues. Or start at the Seppeltsfield end, exiting the Sturt Highway near Greenock. If you start here you can go to about 3 venues. Pop into the Jam Factory, Tscharkes Place and Hentley Farm Wines. Then continue to Nuriootpa for the Barossa Bushgardens, which is delightful to wander around, viewing outdoor sculptures nestled among spring flowering native plants. Read more about the SALA exhibit at Barossa Bushgardens here.
Then head over to the Tanunda area, and finally, Lyndoch area on the way home. Alternately, do this route in reverse starting from the Lyndoch end via Gawler. Further afield, there is Springton and also the Palmer Sculpture Park if you missed their opening during the Fringe.
Art at the Barossa Regional Gallery. Image by Out and About
Photography is always high on my list and I made a special trip down Para Road to Peter Lehman Wines to see the interesting work of Denis Smith, who has now made the Barossa home. In his exhibition, he has used a long exposure to capture some unique orbs in his images. These large artworks would look magnificent in a SA owned corporate workplace or hotel as they are stunning images of South Australia. I also drove to Bethany wines and saw some metal sculptures by Trent Manning and some gorgeous silver jewellery by Peter Hanlon.
Metal Sculptures at Bethany Winery. Image by Out and About
There are too many SALA venues to see in one day on the Barossa circuit, so pick your favourites and see what you can. I managed five venues in one afternoon, and that was a little rushed with no café break. Once you are here, you really wish you had come for the weekend. Do not discount the smaller venues with one artist showing their works. Here you can usually meet the artist and discuss the medium they work in. Remember this event is to showcase artists and their business, so do consider purchasing some new art for your home or as a gift.
Photography exhibit by Denis Smith is located at Peter Lehman Winery. Image by Out and About
I was impressed by the high quality and variety during my SALA tour of the Barossa circuit. There were some types of art mediums I had never seen before such as the remarkable papercuts by Ellen Schlobohm. Talent runs in the family and she is exhibiting along with her sister and mother, who does some unique work with etchings on aluminium.
Every year I always get out to see different SALA areas. It is without a doubt the Barossa works this year are the best overall I have seen yet. Emerging artists are harmoniously exhibited with established artists, yet it all melds into one spectacular show. With some stops at wineries, you can do some tastings and look at art at the same time. There is still plenty of time to visit the Barossa during SALA, so do enjoy a visit to this beautiful part of Australia. But do be prepared before you go and plan your route and have a map.