Adelaide and the Arts

Adelaide is home to many fine art galleries, exhibitions, festivals and events…

Adelaide’s arts scene flourished in the 1960s and 1970s with the support of successive premiers of both major political parties. The renowned Adelaide Festival of Arts and Fringe Festival were established in 1960 under Thomas Playford. Construction of the Adelaide Festival Centre began under Steele Hall in 1970, and was completed under the subsequent government of Don Dunstan, who also established the South Australian Film Corporation and, in 1976, the State Opera of South Australia.

Over time, the Adelaide Festival has expanded to include the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Adelaide Film Festival, Adelaide Festival of Ideas, Adelaide Writers’ Week, and WOMADelaide, all held predominately in the autumnal month of March (that month is sometimes jocularly called ‘mad March’ by locals due to the hectic clustering of these events). Other festivals include FEAST (a queer culture celebration), Tasting Australia (a biennial food and wine affair), and the Royal Adelaide Show (an annual agricultural show and state fair). There are also many international cultural fairs, most notably the German Schützenfest and Greek Glendi. Adelaide is also home to the Adelaide Christmas Pageant, the world’s largest Christmas parade. As the state capital, Adelaide is also home to a great number of cultural institutions with many along the boulevard of North Terrace. The Art Gallery of South Australia, with around 35,000 works, holds Australia’s second largest state-based collection.