The Araluen Arts Centre operates as the visual art and performance hub of Central Australia, presenting an annual program of exhibitions, performances, and film. Known as the keeping place of stories, Araluen holds within its spaces some of the most significant works of art in Central Australia and brings to the stage world class performances from around the nation (and at times the world).
The Centre was officially opened in 1984 in response to the Alice Springs Community's lack of a central hub for artistic achievement and experimentation. Born out of the need for the Central Australian Art Society and Alice Springs Art Foundation to house and exhibit their respective annual national acquisitive art prizes, the Centre began with two art galleries, a 500-seat proscenium arch theatre, and a multipurpose artspace named Witchetty’s. In 2000 it evolved into its current form adding a further two art galleries - including the signature Albert Namatjira Gallery.
Literally built around a culturally significant 300 year old corkwood tree that now sits in the centre of the Sculpture Garden, the Araluen Arts Centre is the heart of the Araluen Cultural Precinct, which includes the Galleries and Theatre, the Museum of Central Australia including the Strehlow Research Centre, the Central Australian Aviation Museum, Central Craft, Yaye’s Café, and a host of significant public works of art and Arrernte sacred sites.
The Araluen Galleries showcase the beginning and continuing development of the Contemporary Aboriginal art movement, particularly of Central Australia and the Western Desert Region as well as significant local contemporary artists in their response to place. The Araluen Art Collection includes original artworks by renowned watercolourist Albert Namatjira and his artistic response to the Central Australian landscape, displayed in rotation in the Galleries, which themselves are only minutes from the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges and the country that gave his work birth.
Art and culture remain an important and vital part of the Central Australian community. The Araluen Arts Centre is committed to presenting rich artistic and cultural events that capture the identity of this community: from the 20 year young and quirky Alice Springs Beanie Festival, to the nationally significant Desert Mob, continuing to draw from around 30 remote arts centres throughout the NT, SA and WA, to present in September every year, the very latest in the ongoing development of contemporary Indigenous art.
The Araluen Arts Centre is committed to inspiring and entertaining the Alice Springs community, visitors and tourists with the very best local, national and international artists.