Heidi Museum of Modern Art

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You don't have to like art to enjoy a visit to Heidi in Melbourne's north. The new art gallery sits in a formed landscape that spreads down to the banks of the Yarra River (mentioned in another review on Melbourne's Fairfield Boat House). The land is undulating and mature trees, bushes and lawns are an ideal place to unpack your picnic and just enjoy the day. You can sit and view the many pieces of modern sculpture dotted throughout the many acres.

Almost as important as the art gallery is the whole gardening business. The original owners gifted this gallery and garden to the State of Victoria for the use of the public. Sunday Reed loved gardens and indulged in creating sweeping landscapes as well as kitchen gardens. Her aromatic kitchen gardens are maintained as she planned them, and the chance to walk the paths should not be ignored.

Heidi One was an old weatherboard farm house that John and Sunday Reed bought and then created a warm and caring environment for young artists producing cutting edge work during and after the years of the second world war. It was a sanctuary where they were accepted, and were provided with financial and practical support to continue to develop their art.

In the 1960s an architect was employed to design a new building, Heidi Two, that would serve the Reeds as both home and gallery for their expanding collection. The result was a stunning piece that sits beautifully in the landscape. Some years later they moved back to the farm house and the new building became the Heidi Gallery.

Over the years the artists they helped have become Australias best known, and their work is regularly exhibited, along with younger artists who are just as innovative and misunderstood as the original group was it earlier times.

All sorts of programs are offered, including floor talks by experts on individual artists, or on aspects of the garden. Lots of childrens activities are also available.

You can visit the cafe, but it is rather pricey. There is no cost to enter the grounds, but there is an entry fee to the galleries.

Check out website for the latest exhibitions and programs, and for directions www.heidi.com.au.

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