Our history

La Trobe University first began acquiring artworks around the time of the foundation of the Bundoora site in 1967, and has had various incarnations of exhibition spaces since the late 1970s.

La Trobe Art Institute

The university's artworks are currently managed by La Trobe Art Institute (LAI). The LAI was established in 2013 to build upon existing curatorial, exhibition, education and engagement programs in order to broker cultural partnerships and foster game changing initiatives within the creative industries.

Following the resignation of the inaugural Director, Dr Neil Fettling, in December 2015, Karen Quinlan, the Director of the Bendigo Art Gallery since 2000, was appointed as the LAI’s first Professor of Practice and Director of the LAI. This appointment provided an opportunity to review the operations of the LAI and develop a La Trobe University Art Strategy, released in July 2016. The strategy aims to define a new framework for delivering on La Trobe University’s ambition to be a leading arts institution locally, regionally and nationally.

In 2016, the LAI took over responsibility for the operations of the Museum of Art (LUMA) at Glenn College Bundoora, and the Visual Arts Centre (VAC) in Bendigo. In 2017, the LAI moved into a new period of change and growth, with LUMA and the VAC fully absorbed into the LAI's structure.

Visual Arts Centre (Bendigo)

The La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre (VAC) was the focus for the University's cultural mission in Bendigo. The building opened in 2005 at 121 View Street, Bendigo, directly opposite the Bendigo Art Gallery and the Capital Theatre. In addition to an exhibition program that presented cutting edge contemporary visual art, the VAC engaged with the community through a public lecture program, artist floor talks and residencies featuring local, national and international artists.

The La Trobe Art Institute is now primarily based at 121 View Street in Bendigo, and also maintains a strong presence on all of the University's campuses through a range of projects and collaborations.

La Trobe University Museum of Art (LUMA)

The La Trobe University Museum of Art (LUMA) was located at Glenn College on the Melbourne Campus from 1990 to 2016, where it managed the University Art Collection, brokered a series of temporary installations on the campus, and engaged in historical and contemporary art debates. LUMA added to the knowledge of Australian artists, movements and events through a dynamic exhibition program; worked in cross-discipline paradigms; managed the La Trobe University Sculpture Park, and was actively engaged in important State, National and International collaborative projects.