Murray Art Museum Albury leads revival

Author: Sue Wallace

Albury's new art museum is part of a cultural and food boom for the riverside city.

It takes a village to raise a child and, in the case of Albury, an entire city to create an art museum.

Named MAMA, short for Murray Art Museum Albury, the $10.5 million complex opened in October after three years of community input and construction, linking the city's 1860s Lands Office and its 1908 town hall with a new eco-friendly building.

MAMA director Jacqui Hemsley attributes the early, enthusiastic response to the museum to input from "thousands" of people. "We talked to so many people in Albury and state-wide about the arts and what they liked, and didn't restrict consultation to arts management boards and local government," she says, "so we got a very clear indication that steered the project."

The museum has one of the country's finest collections of contemporary Australian photography, with more than 600 works dating back to the '60s. There's a diverse calendar of exhibitions under way, including a hands-on Lego installation by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and a video triology by Australian activist-artist Richard Bell opening on 17 December. The museum's coup, however, is the only southern-hemisphere appearance of Marilyn: Celebrating an American Icon, opening on 12 February and featuring 100 paintings, photos and videos of the star by Andy Warhol, Cecil Beaton, Henri Cartier-Bresson and others (546 Dean St, Albury).

The opening of MAMA follows the launch of the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk along the Murray River, on the city's western outskirts. Local indigenous artists have created 11 works about "respect for country" including Bogong Moth Migration by Ruth Davys and The Bigger Picture by Katrina Weston.

Newcomers to the food scene include Nord Bakery (499 Ebden St, South Albury) for almond croissants and Danish bread, and River Deck Café (48 Noreuil Pde, South Albury) for Milawa cornbread toasties. There's a strong brunch following at The Proprietor (459 Townsend St, Albury), mini hazelnut crunch cakes at Geoffrey Michael Pâtissier (669 Dean St, Albury) and salted caramel éclairs at Patty's Pâtisserie (556 Olive St, Albury).

Tucked away in inner-city AMP Lane is Boom Boom, a new wine bar. And across the river and interstate is Andiamo Street Food (97 High St, Wodonga) for piadine, and Broadgauge (Elgin Bvd, Wodonga), an old railway café transformed into a chic eatery with a nod to its heritage Wodonga.

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