Australia’s biggest celebration of visual arts gets under way in South Australia

SALA Chris Orchard - The Proxy, 2016-17Presenting the works of a record breaking 6282 artists in 660 free exhibitions across Adelaide and regions throughout August, the 2017 South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival has got underway for its milestone 20th year.

During August more than 560 venues from pubs and cafes to wineries, bookshops and even cemeteries will be transformed into pop-up art galleries for 31 days, showing all forms of visual art from painting, sculpture and jewellery to video, multimedia and more. SALA’s first week will see the official opening of more than 170 exhibitions across the state, all open to the public and free.

Some SALA exhibitions are already on show, such as the flagship exhibitions of Jam Factory Icons, Catherine Truman at the Jam Factory, and Gerry Wedd at Signal Point Gallery in Goolwa, Sera Waters at new contemporary art gallery ACE Open, Adelaide Airport exhibition island home, and solo shows by 2017 SALA Featured Artist, Christopher Orchard at the Art Gallery of South Australia and BMG Art Gallery. Highlights of this year’s festival include:

This funky converted shipping container on the lawns of the SA Museum is the festival’s newest public art venue, featuring a range of pop-up exhibitions, live demonstrations, come-n-try sessions and fun family activities. Open every day in August (excluding Mondays).

See famous Adelaide faces including Port Power footy legend Gavin Wanganeen, pie king Vili Milisits and Channel Seven’s Rosanna Mangiarelli have their portraits painted live in front of the public as part of the Royal South Australian Society of Art Third Biennial Portrait Prize Exhibition.

Enjoy grand-scale sculptures by 11 artists including Wesley Harrop, Quentin Gore, Nicholas Uhlmann and Ronda Wallis in the beautiful surrounds of the Government House Gardens, along with an afternoon of fun art activities at the special SALA open day on Sunday 13August.

Eat your art out at You ART What You Eat, an immersive art dinner experience at city supper hotspot The Propaganda Club, curated by smash hit sold-out stars of the Adelaide Fringe, Post Dining. Dine on, in and around art – and maybe even take some home – at this unique culinary event that mixes food, performance and art. (Thursday 24August)

Expect avant-garde fashion, postmodern beats and more than a touch of the absurd at this Dada-inspired ball in the newly revamped Old Regent former cinema complex. Celebrate SALA’s final weekend with a night of dancing, canapes and cocktails by The Propaganda Club, with DJs, live performance art and surprising installations. (Saturday 26August)

Walk, cycle or drive your way through SALA and the RAA’s more than 25 art tours across the city, suburbs and regions, including the ever popular Bring the Baby Art Tour (4 August) and Dog Friendly Art Tour (20 August), and new 18+ pub crawl Sketchy Art Tour where participants can “draw under the influence” as they bar hop (25 August).

Meet local artists and watch them create at the SALA Open Studio Weekend (12 – 13 August), when more than 120 artists will throw open the doors to their studios and work spaces to show the public how they work.

SALA gets going when the sun goes down, bringing Adelaide’s West End to life for one jam-packed night of exhibition openings, film screenings and “PechaKucha” – a fun event for creative people to share ideas. (Thursday 10 August – 5.00pm to 9.00pm).

A host of top practicing artists will lead a full day of discussion and debate at ACE Open in the Lion Arts Centre about the value of visual arts, now and in the future. (Saturday 19 August – 11.00am to 4.00pm)

This year’s festival also sees seven official artist residencies with Jane Skeer, Steph Fuller and Sonali Patel working in and around the Adelaide Festival Centre, Flinders Medical Centre and SAHMRI to create artworks inspired by their surroundings, as well as Henry Stentiford, Jade Harland, Jamahl Pollard and Richard Parker based at Country Health SA outlets in Glenside, Berri and Whyalla. And don’t miss the SALA Art Cars hitting Adelaide’s streets during this year’s festival wrapped in colourful artwork by Dan Withey and Dana Kinter.

SALA Festival General Manager Penny Griggs said with a record number of exhibitions and artists the 2017 program cemented August as “visual art month” in South Australia, with art and cultural events for all. “Local artists of all levels share their work with us throughout August. You’re invited to be part of the SALA community and explore the 660 exhibitions and events on offer throughout the state this year,” said Ms Griggs.

The 2017 SALA Festival continues throughout August. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: Chris Orchard, The Proxy, 2016-2017, oil on linen – courtesy of SALA