Art lovers guide to Lake Macquarie

Published on 22 November 2023

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Dynamic, vibrant and brimming with the very best local and national talent, Lake Mac’s arts scene has exploded in recent years. The diverse offering of exhibitions, live music and performing arts has established the city as a cultural hub attracting both locals and visitors.  

The exciting program of events for 2024 promises to once again raise the bar, with leading Australian artists and performers joined by emerging local talent to fill the impressive range of sophisticated arts facilities located throughout the city.   

So, where to start?   

See art and innovation collide at MAP mima. Opened in 2021, this edgy venue is the newest addition to the Lake Arts Precinct and home to interactive multi-arts experiences. The Cube opens to a roofed staged area for live events in the park, while inside offers 360-degree immersive projections.  

Embrace music magic at Unfurl, back for another year at MAP mima in March, and Orchestral Pops with the Lake Mac Philharmonic Orchestra in April. Or immerse yourself in local plants of the hyper-real kind with this summer’s exhibition, Valley of a Thousand Plants by media artist Joel Zika.   

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Across the lake and nestled within leafy grounds is MAC yapang, an award-winning art museum complete with a café and shop, and Sculpture Park. Its dedicated Aboriginal program ‘yapang’ means journey or pathway in Awabakal. Discover the exceptional talents of HSC Visual Arts students from the Hunter and Central Coast and celebrate the voice of youth at First Class 23, showing from February to April.  

Connecting MAC yapang's Sculpture Park with MAP mima and Warners Bay is the ever-expanding Creative Lake Sculpture Trail. The newest installation, a large-scale sculpture by nationally renowned artist Sanné Mestrom, Lady of the Lake, at MAP mima, joins more than 26 sculptures along the foreshore.  

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Make date night extra memorable with dinner and a show at the recently refurbished Warners Bay Theatre, baramayiba, a short walk from restaurants and bars along Warners Bay foreshore. Mark your calendar for the unmissable Opera Hunter’s performance of the iconic Carmen in July, sung in English. Or bring on the LOLs with the Sydney Comedy Festival Showcase in August.  

Steeped in local character, Rathmines Theatre, nawayiba provides a stunning heritage backdrop for some of 2024’s more traditional performances. In September, the Australian Haydn Ensemble brings together world-class musicians to transport you to a bygone era with the sounds of period instruments. In June, the Lake Macquarie Winds Concert Band will dazzle with a free concert showcasing classics, musicals, jazz and pop music.   

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Book in for a workshop or attend a local artist exhibition at the Wangi Library Creative Hub, home to a dedicated arts space. Or join a heritage volunteer-led tour on a Wednesday or Saturday, or heritage focused Saturday Series workshop at Lake Mac’s newest venue, the Sugar Valley Library Museum, home to a dedicated museum. 

Test out your talents with the Creative Workshop Series at SEEN@Swansea. Hosted throughout the year, everyone from kids to adults can practice hands-on learning through creative play, art making and technology.  

Consider yourself a budding artist? Launchpad is a powerful platform to foster local talent with the support of an exhibition program available across five Lake Mac Library branches. 

Plan your 2024 arts and culture trail by downloading a copy of the 2024 Arts Guide. Become a Lake Mac Arts member to enjoy special discounts, VIP invitations and complimentary tickets, while supporting the city’s vibrant scene.


Top: Russell Morris in concert at MAP mima, 2022

Second from top: First Class 22 exhibition at MAC yapang

Second from bottom: Sanné Mestrom, Lady of the lake sculpture, 2023

Bottom: Australian Haydn Ensemble

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