There’s a thriving arts community in many villages in The Dandenongs, including Olinda (once home to revered Australian artist Arthur Streeton), Sassafras and Upwey (at the Burrinja Gallery). The mystical William Ricketts Sanctuary is a spiritual experience.
On the Mornington Peninsula, follow the Coastal Arts Trail, or drop in and watch artists working on the studio trail. In the Yarra Valley and Dandenongs there are annual Open Studios events, along with other major events and exhibitions. The 40km Heidelberg School Artists Trail winds through the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, with 57 interpretive signs.
Major galleries include the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, the McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park (home of the biennial $150,000 Sculpture Survey and Award) and Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove, where an annual sculpture prize has created a fine collection of works positioned around the estate. In the Yarra Valley, the TarraWarra Museum of Art has an impressive collection of Australian art as well as regular touring exhibitions.
Local artists and jewellery makers have created a vibrant arts community, with little galleries dotted around Phillip Island. There are a number of art galleries in Cowes, including Mingara Gallery and The Gallery at the Cowes Cultural Centre.
For jewellery, head for San Remo, where the Goldsmith's Gallery in Bridgeview Arcade showcases the work of some of Australia's most talented and respected jewellers.