Mildura Arts Centre

About us

Our past
The foundations of Mildura Arts Centre were first laid in 1950 when Rio Vista, previously the showcase family home of WB and Heather Chaffey, was purchased by the Council for £18,000. Rio Vista was acquired for use as an art gallery to display the significant collection of works bequeathed to the community by Senator R D Elliott in 1944. Further works were also bequeathed by his late wife, Mrs Hilda Elliott in 1970.

The art gallery, contained within a refitted and extended Rio Vista, was officially opened on 25 May 1956 by Governor of Victoria General Sir Dallas Brooks.

From this foundation Mildura Arts Centre has evolved into the cultural hub of the local community. The first major development occurred in 1966 with the construction of a dedicated art gallery and theatre, opened by the then Victorian Premier, Sir Henry Bolte on 22 November 1966. 2012 brought the fruition of Stage 1 of the Mildura Arts and Cultural Precinct redevelopment with the creation of new performing arts venue.
The Mildura Sculpture Triennials, a series of important contemporary art events, took place between 1961 and 1988 and gave Mildura an undeniable place on the national arts scene. The legacy of the Triennials remains today with public art scattered in and around Mildura on the lawns and along Deakin Avenue.
Our present
Mildura Arts Centre is comprised of Rio Vista Historic House, a gallery spread across five exhibition spaces, a café bar and a 500 seat theatre featuring a forestage lift and modern production capabilities.

A popular stop for school groups, bus tours and history fans alike, Rio Vista has undergone conservation, restoration and multiple facelifts and remains the centrepiece of the site. Visitors can wander the house and learn about the place of the Chaffey family within the wider history of the town of Mildura.

Our galleries feature an ever changing program of exhibitions from local artists, touring artists and featured collections with a focus on the interesting and the diverse. The permanent collection of Mildura Arts Centre long ago outgrew the gallery walls, but we always manage to have a few pieces out for our visitors to enjoy.

The theatre auditorium hosts every important event from conferences, primary school graduations and excellent local productions to favourite comedians, The Australian Ballet and Circus Oz. We even have the odd cabaret show in our foyer and live community events on our lawns.

Vista Café Bar is an ideal spot to grab a coffee or a local wine and relax after touring the house and gallery, or before a theatre performance (when the theatre opens).
Our future: 2021 and beyond
Who knows what the future holds post 2020? The arts and entertainment sectors in Australia have had a rough time lately and Mildura Arts Centre is adapting and imagining new ways to support our local artists and our customers.

We, like many venues, are embracing streaming technology to continue to give our local artists a stage and our local music lovers a show with our Backstage Pass seriesKeep an eye out for more content: now that the weather is warming up, why not move from the backstage to the backyard with our Twilight Online series?

Visitors to our webpage can enjoy video tours of the theatre, Rio Vista Historic House and our 2020 gallery exhibitions from the comfort of the couch.

We look forward to welcoming our old and new friends back to Mildura Arts Centre as soon as we can. It might look a little different but the smiles will be the same!

Mildura Rural City Council and Mildura Arts Centre

Up Arrow