La Trobe Art Institute

Installation view, Insert Title interactive exhibition, 2017

The La Trobe Art Institute (LAI) is an aspirational institution looking towards a redefinition of the role of the university art museum in the 21st century.

The LAI brings together all art related activities across the University’s multiple campuses.  These include contemporary exhibition spaces, innovative public programs and the ongoing care and maintenance of the University’s extensive cultural collections of contemporary and historical artworks, social history and ethnographic objects.

International recognition for La Trobe University in growing cultural and creative discourse is a core tenet, embedding creative thinking and design-led approaches within current and future practice and throughout the University’s diverse communities.

The LAI pursues opportunities for engagement and development of the cultural economy across Victoria and is a hub for creative innovation: a centre where students, practitioners, industry leaders and the public can engage, collaborate and participate.

Permanent Collection

La Trobe University Museum of Art aims to acquire, conserve and exhibit a major public art collection of demonstrable excellence and significance that reflects the diversity of art produced, especially since the establishment of La Trobe University, for the cultural enrichment, education and research enterprise of the University's student body, staff and the wider community.

The La Trobe University Art Collection began in 1966, before construction of the first buildings commenced at the site of the University’s major campus at Bundoora. Recognising the importance of an art collection within an educational environment, the University’s Master Architect, Dr Roy Simpson, AO, incorporated the installation and display of art works into his overall vision for La Trobe. Together with Mr Frank Barnes, the University’s first Business Manager, and the generosity of individual benefactors, Dr Simpson initiated the commissioning of paintings by Gareth Jones-Roberts, Leonard Lloyd Annois and Charles William Bush to establish the Art Collection.

Major sculptural works, such as Allen David’s monumental glass screen that graces the main entrance to the University Library, were also included in the original design. The further installation of sculpture in the grounds and paintings throughout the buildings were proposed in the original Master Plan, and were made possible with funds raised through the 1976 Retirement Appeal for the inaugural Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Myers.

Today the La Trobe University Art Collection is considered a major public art collection, comprising over 2,000 post war and contemporary Australian art works. The collection covers most media and periods of Australian art. It includes the largest holding of works by the Australian Surrealist Bernard Boles, expatriate artist Allen David and the Etta Hirsh Ceramics Collection which consists of over 300 pieces. 

In addition to an active acquisition program, art works have been acquired through an artist in residence program and sponsorship of public art prizes, reinforcing the University’s commitment to the study, patronage and advancement of the visual arts. 

Public accessibility to the Collections remains a priority, with many of the works displayed across the University’s metropolitan and regional campuses, included in touring exhibitions and exhibitions held at other venues.

Online collection
getting to the gallery

Bendigo is approximately 150 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, the LAI Gallery is located in View Street, in the heart of the Bendigo arts precinct.

V-Line offers a regular rail service to Bendigo; the LAI is an easy 1 kilometre walk through central Bendigo from the station. Parking is available in the street; the nearest public car park is located behind the Capital Theatre (turn right at the View Street roundabout).

The main entrance to the LAI gallery is from View Street. There is also rear access for loading and unloading, accessed from a laneway off Rowan St.


The building is fully wheelchair accessible and has a platform lift between the two levels. Disabled visitor access is readily available from the front and rear of the building and there are toilet facilities for the disabled.

Cover image: La Trobe Art Institute facade.
Above image: Installation view, Insert Title interactive exhibition, 2017

La Trobe Art Institute
121 View Street
Bendigo VIC 3550
T: 03 5441 8724
W: latrobe.edu.au/art-institute

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturdays: 12noon - 5pm

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LAI Interwoven 2
La Trobe Art Institute
9 Sep 2019 - 26 Oct 2019
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