Art industry apps you should have

From festivals and street art tours to event listings and orchestral insights, there’s an arts industry app out there for you.
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With 2.8 billion smartphone users worldwide, the arts industry has caught on to the benefits of capturing the public’s attention via the smartphone in their pocket. By offering behind-the-scenes views of the art world, apps can break down the mystique that sometimes surrounds art by allowing the user to interact and engage using different media. Galleries have long used artist talks to extend visitor’s experience, but now users can wander the gallery at their leisure and listen to accompanying audio and video content via the gallery’s app.

Read: Festival app makes adventurous art accessible

From the helpful to the genuinely innovative, we have rounded up the top apps for anyone interested in arts and culture.


Melbourne International Film Festival

MIFF hosts a feast of cinematic delicacies from over 50 countries for seventeen days each winter, heavily garnished with galas, premieres and special events. Use the app to explore the program, buy tickets and plan your visit .

Available on OSX and Android.


Dark MOFO is the Museum of Old and New Art (aka M ONA)’s winter festival, celebrating the dark through large-scale public art, food, music, film, light and noise. The accompanying app allows you to search events, purchase tickets and receive the latest news and information.

Available on OSX.

Melbourne Writer’s Festival

The official app for the 2016 Melbourne Writers Festival allows you to explore, connect and streamline your Festival experience. 

Available on OSX and Android.

Adelaide Festival

Adelaide Festival is Australia’s oldest festival still in operation. The app allows you to explore the program, buy tickets and plan your visit to the festival.

Available on OSX and Android.

Sydney Film Festival

Sydney Film Festival is one of the world’s longest-running film festivals, celebrating its 63rd edition in 2016. Browse the program by country, director, venue and name, see which films are selling out and view the previews for the films.

Available on OSX and Android.

TropFest You Be The Judge

An innovative app that provides fans the opportunity to watch, review, and rate the 16 finalist short films from within the app.

Available on OSX and Android.

Mardi Gras Film Festival

Built by the same team behind the apps for the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, MIFF, and the Sydney Film Festival, this app allows you to explore the festival program, purchase and download tickets and vote for your favourite films.

Available on OSX.

Galleries, museums and libraries

NGV Guide

Discover the stories behind the artworks, search the works by colour and find out the curator and artists’ favourite picks from the collection.

Visit here.

National Library of Australia Catalogue

The National Library of Australia is the biggest library in the country, and the accompanying app provides a fast and easy way to search the collection and to find resources whenever and wherever you are. Library cardholders can reserve and order books, as well as track items and book collections.

Available on OSX and Android.


The State Library of New South Wales has a fascinating collection of curios and objects in its extensive collection, and now you can browse them all through your smartphone. A location awareness system streams interesting facts, surprising stories and multimedia directly to you as you roam the galleries.

Available on OSX and Android.

Art Gallery of NSW

Discover works from the Art Gallery of New South Wales collections of Australian and international art, with audio insights from our curators.

Available on OSX and Android.

Sydney Opera House

Explore the world of the Sydney Opera House with the official app. Find the very best that the House has to offer, from tickets to events and tours, to food and beverage options, and everything in between. 

Available on OSX and Android.

Museum of Contemporary Art Insights

Features audio guides by curators and artists and extended information on the artworks, plus maps, schedules and event listings. A handy tool to plan your trip and enhance your visit.

Available on OSX and Android.

Architecture, history and tours

City of Sydney Culture Walks

This app is the ideal companion for discovering the city on foot – discover hidden laneways and new neighbourhoods while learning about Sydney’s fascinating history and the stories behind the city’s most loved public artworks.

Available on OSX and Android.

Detour – Melbourne street art

Street art is now one of Melbourne’s greatest cultural attractions. Yet unlike established galleries and exhibition spaces, there is no front door or information desk, no maps and no descriptions. Detour offers a curated guide to some of Melbourne’s best street art, including important works of social, cultural or historical significance.

Available on OSX.


Vic-Heritage explores the histories of the most important and unusual places in Melbourne and regional Victoria . Spanning significant places from the 1840s to the present, the app captures everything from Victorian to modern architecture; from houses to industrial spaces; from mansions to bridges; from public toilets to trees and gardens. Discover the history behind the buildings and places surrounding you.

Available on OSX.

Culture Map

Ever wanted to know what movies, books or shows were set in your town? CultureMap has plotted the location of more than 200 films, novels, and plays that feature Australian spaces and places. 

Available on OSX and Android.

Aboriginal Sydney

The app allows you to explore Sydney’s Indigenous heritage ‘on the go’. Busy cities like Sydney can make it hard to see their Aboriginal heritage, but if you know where to look — sometimes just beneath your feet — the hidden layers of occupation appear.

Available on OSX and Android.


Lost! is an awesome interactive app that uses augmented reality to enable you to visually overlay buildings from the past onto the present. Wander the streets of Melbourne and imagine the city as it used to be.

Available on OSX.

Walsh Bay Sculpture Walk tour

This audio-described tour makes the sculptures and artworks along the foreshore at Walsh Bay in Sydney accessible for the blind and vision impaired.  Each sculpture is enhanced with an audio description co-written by curators and artists in collaboration with Accessible Arts.

Available on OSX.

Arts industry

ArtGuide by ArtForum

A global version of ArtsView, this handy app lists current events and exhibitions taking place in galleries and museums, and at art fairs, auctions, and biennials in more than 500 cities.

Available on OSX and Android.

ArtsView Melbourne and Sydney

An easy way to discover the who, when, what and how of current and upcoming gallery exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney. Features over 100 works of art each month plus artist profiles and gallery information including contact details and maps.

Available on OSX.

Google Arts and Culture

Launched in July this year to much fanfare, this is Google’s first foray into art apps. As expected, it is top-notch. Explore artworks, artifacts, and more from over 850 museums, archives, and organizations worldwide, including using Google Street View to enter museums such as the Louvre and the MET.

Available on OSX and Android.


One for the art collectors! Discover, research and collect the world’s best fine art online.

Available on OSX.

Art and play

MSO Learn

A brilliant tool from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, showing an audio-visual exploration of an orchestra, featuring the different instrumental families, individual instruments and the musicians who play them.

Available on OSX.


A stunning innovative multimedia exploration of music, nature and technology by the boundary-pushing musician Björk. 

Available on OSX and Android.

Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono has developed chess app where all the pieces are white. The rules are as follows, per Ono: ‘Play it for as long as you can remember who is your opponent and who is your own self.’

Available on OSX.


The National Library of Australia has a collection of 13,000 items of sheet music, and now you can access them all from your iPad. Browse scores by decade or composer, play music from your device and create your own lists of favourites.

Available on OSX.

Emma Clark Gratton
About the Author
Emma Clark Gratton is an ArtsHub staff writer.