Schools at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery

The gallery caters for school excursion groups from K-12. Our education programs are designed to make original works of art accessible to a wide range of audiences. Visits to the gallery provide an opportunity for students to engage with new exhibitions, the sculpture garden and the permanent collection.

The gallery offers schools:

  • guided tours of the exhibition and sculpture park
  • education kits for selected exhibitions
  • stage 3 exhibition activity sheets for all exhibitions
  • activity sheets based on the collection, including the sculpture park
  • teachers' professional development days
  • practical workshop for students including Intensive HSC clinics
  • access to artists in residence.
Photo: Donna Fernando with school students talking about the yapang marruma exhibition

School Tours

Our Education & Public Programs Officer will introduce students to simple rules in the gallery and walk them through the current exhibition encouraging them to think about the visual cues used in the artworks on display, such as colour, shape, symbols. Tours of the sculpture park are also available.

Many teachers bring large groups of students to the gallery for the day and rotate activities between the gallery and the grounds, practising drawing and utilising our various worksheets.

Tours are free of change but must be booked two weeks in advance if possible. The School Excursion Form below can be used as a basis for risk assessment procedures.

Photo: School groups working in the sculpture park

Professional Development Days for Teachers

The gallery holds a number of teachers' in-service days annually to complement exhibitions. These sessions develop teachers' confidence in presenting informative and engaging lessons to their students while linking to DET curriculum or policy. Designed for secondary Visual Arts teachers, these professional development days will include presentations by senior markers, as well as exhibition floor talks. Practical workshops providing new approaches to teaching and creating contemporary art often complete the day. Teachers' Day – HSC Visual Arts

Photo: Teachers' day at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery


Nominations for the First Class 19 exhibition are now open.

Now in its twelfth  year, First Class is an established annual exhibition project celebrating the high calibre of Higher School Certificate work produced by students from the Hunter and Central Coast regions. The exhibition is selected from nominated HSC Body of Work submissions produced in the previous year, and curated by independent arts industry professionals.

Attention year 12 teachers: this year, you and your students will notice a couple of changes to the process of nomination for First Class. It would be great if you could draw your students’ attention to these points:

Nomination Form

  • is much improved and interactive! Students can now type into the fields of the pdf Form.
  • once completed, EITHER send directly using the preset SUBMIT button on page 4;OR download the file, complete on the computer, print or save on the USB withi mages and send by mail.

Digital IMAGES of the work MUST BE

  • clearly identified with the student artist’s FULL NAME and SCHOOL
  • hi res on USB and mailed to

Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery
BOX 1906


[image right, detail] As featured in First Class 14, Nicholas Carr from Central Coast Grammar School, Modern Mythology 2014, photographic paper, metal sheeting, digital video, installation dimensions variable © the artist.

Artwork: Detail of Nicholas Carr's HSC work 'hello friendos' 2013

HSC Clinics for Students

Each year, to coincide with our HSC exhibition project, First Class, the gallery invites established artists to conduct practical workshops for year 10 and 11 students to assist them in developing a Body of Work. These clinics offer students a great way to connect with artists and their practice, while gaining the kind of confidence only possible through working in an intensive way over a full-day workshop. This year more established Hunter-based artists will be available to share their skills with students.

Case Study publications for HSC Students and Teachers

To support HSC Visual Arts study the gallery has embarked on a series of case studies of well-known Australian artists. The first in the series of exhibitions was devoted to Anne Zahalka and was shown alongside First Class 12. The exhibition project was accompanied by a comprehensive education resource prepared by Central-Coast based art educator, Kate Caddey. The second case study worked with the gallery’s exhibition project Collective Identity(IeS): This Is That Time, curated by Lisa Corsi. The resource publication, also prepared by Kate Caddey, focused on issues of identity as well as the private collector’s role in the artist-artwork-audience relationship. The series continued with the publication of another artist case study alongside First Class 13. In line with the themes of environmental sustainability, contemporary practice and education, the gallery presented an exhibition and case-study publication featuring works by leading Australian artist Janet Laurence.

In 2017, First Class 16 shared the gallery with an case-study exhibition of work by Fiona Hall. A comprehensive publication, written by Helen Willis, complemented this focus exhibition.

Photo: HSC students modelling as pirates for their class