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.
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.
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 try to have a few Collection works out for our visitors to enjoy.
The theatre auditorium
hosts every important event from conferences, school graduation ceremonies, excellent local productions to comedy, drama and dance productions. We have cabaret performances in the foyer and live community events on the lawns.
VISTA Cafe Bar
is an ideal spot to grab a coffee or a local wine and relax after exploring the house and gallery, or before a theatre performance.