A Quick Guide to Music, Art, Architecture, and Nature in Sydney

Oct 3, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Martyn Megaloudis

Martyn Megaloudis

Martyn Megaloudis is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing major at the University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.

In this week's post, Martyn creates a quick guide based on his exploration of Sydney's art and culture so far and shares several go-to spots for music, art, architecture and nature in the city.


For today's post, I wanted to talk a bit about some of the art (whether painted or sung) that you can generally find around the CAPA Sydney center and in the city. I haven’t managed to hit all of the cultural touchstones of Sydney yet, but here are a few highlights of what I’ve seen so far. Small note to take—I know very little about plants, architecture, and art so those sections may be lacking in any expert evaluation.


Foundry 616 Hosting The Baker Boys Jazz GroupFoundry 616 hosts a wide range of jazz acts including The Baker Boys.

Five minutes down the street from the CAPA Sydney center sits the small jazz lounge, Foundry 616. Despite the sign outside (which is never lit up and very easy to glaze over), Foundry 616 is hard to spot—being just one of three doors at the entrance to a large business building. Enter and you’ll find a dimly lit lounge that provides a small stage for performances and smaller concerts, as well as the option to dine in. The lounge offers free admission on Tuesdays, and hosts “The Baker Boys” which is a jazz collective that allows musicians from every avenue from Sydney to showcase their talents for prospective bookings. I’m a sucker for jazz and jazz renditions of non-jazz songs, so I really enjoyed their performance- I’m not getting married anytime soon so I’m not going end up giving any of them jobs, but they did put on a good show! I would say if you have a spare hour on a Tuesday it wouldn’t hurt to check out Foundry 616.

If jazz isn't your cup of tea you can always enjoy the musical lyrics of a local comedian turning a daily occurrence, like white collar Sydney’s love for the scooter, into a hilarious 5-minute set at the Enmore Theater. The Enmore Theater is about a 40-minute walk from the Urbanest housing that CAPA provides for our study abroad accommodation. Enmore Theater doubles as both a venue for touring musical acts and a stage for stand-up comedians every Tuesday night. I was a little scared when I went on Tuesday that comedy specific to Sydney things may go over my head, but thankfully I caught on to the gist of most of the jokes and had a great time. I love a good Netflix comedy special, but there’s nothing like the energy of being in a room with everyone and collectively sharing the experience of hearing a joke together and laughing. Comedy is also a great way of understanding the culture that it speaks about in a nuanced and (hopefully) funny way.


The Art Gallery of New South Wales-624269-editedThe Art Gallery of New South Wales offers beautiful views both inside and out.

If you want to see more traditional art and sculptures, you could check out either the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia or the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Both museums do a good job of offering a range of art styles and variations for you to absorb. While the Art Gallery of New South Wales dwells mostly in the classical oil paintings offering, the Museum of Contemporary Art pulls in new artists and ideas from Australia to produce some pretty innovative and reactionary pieces.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Sydney_Fall2018_From Martyn Megaloudis - Inside the Contemporary Art MuseumThe Contemporary Art Museum offers some incredibly intricate art installations.

I’m going to making an editorial decision and say that I personally enjoyed the Art Gallery more than the Contemporary Museum. I’ve just always been a fan of oil paintings, so I naturally gravitated towards the Art Gallery’s displays. One notable artist I wanted to mention is the work of Camille Pissarro. While not Australian, this Danish impressionist carries a very similar style to Vincent Van Gogh (who takes the highly coveted award of being my favorite painter).

Artwork by Camille Pissaro at the Art Gallery of New South WalesCamille Pissarro has a beautiful selection of works on display
at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

So for fans of the almost moving paintings of Van Gogh, Pissarro is more than a worthy supplement. However both locations have free admission, so it doesn’t hurt to go to both and expand your artistic horizons with art not just from Sydney, but around the world.

Architecture and Nature

CAPAStudyAbroad_Sydney_Fall2018_From Martyn Megaloudis - Pathway at the Royal Botanical GardensThe Royal Botanical Gardens offer beautiful views of the local fauna in Sydney and Australia.

Right next to the Art Gallery of New South Wales is the Royal Botanical Gardens which offer a range of interesting plant life to look at. I think I may have gone too early and missed out on the “Spring Bloom” that was so heavily advertised but nonetheless it was amazing and visually stimulating to see the different types of fauna that occupies Sydney. It’s strange to see that things from cacti to palm trees to a rose garden to high standing bamboo trees can all exist in the same climate (or maybe that’s not so strange to say—I’m a marketing major not a botanist). It’s said that flowers are nature’s eye candy and the Royal Botanical Gardens definitely makes endless strides to prove the value of not just the beauty of flowers but of the beauty of the natural world.

University of Sydney Campus and ArchitectureThe University of Sydney has an astoundingly beautiful campus that is more than worth a visit.

Now, I know little to nothing about the wonderful nuances of architecture. I can’t properly describe what makes a beautiful building so encapsulating to look at, I wish I did. I wish I took an “ Intro to Architecture” course in my freshman year. However, I feel like I can speak on a personal authority that if you want to look at beautifully crafted scenery and carved structures there’s no place better (and only a 15-minute walk from Urbannest housing) than the University of Sydney. All I can say that a walk through the campus will undoubtedly showcase one of the great sights and great architecture in Sydney (I know these buildings are well designed—I just can’t for the life of me tell me why).

Sydney offers a bustling arts and culture scene and one that I have just begun to crack into. Without a doubt any place that you go to in this city for art will lead to beautiful works and new perspectives.

Thanks, Martyn!

Martyn's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Sydney Program

Topics: Sydney, Australia, Local Culture