The annual spring event takes art outside the white box confines of a traditional gallery and uses the city’s parks, laneways, squares and railways as canvas. Our hope is that people experience Sydney in a different way – that the street you walk down every day to work becomes intriguing and inspires you to discover something new and unexpected. Over the years, we’ve featured a score of amazing local talent and attracted internationally acclaimed artists like Kurt Perschke and Michael Landy.

This year’s theme Private Lives…Public Spaces has some very private moments on show in some very public locations. If you don’t have time to look through the full festival program (we know there’s lots to do!) we’ve taken the liberty of plucking out five things – in no order in particular – not to be missed…

1. Bread and Butter

Even amongst new bars and shiny new stores, there are some absolute gems that have graced our city for generations. Photographer David Adams pays tribute to our ‘mom and pop’ type establishments and their legendary owners. We’re talking Doris Goddard from the Hollywood Hotel, Crown Street’s Perkal Brothers shoemakers, Eleni and Chrisanthy from the Oceanic Café, among others. A touching, human dimension of our city.

20 September – 20 October
From 5pm
Nick the Barber
322 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Free

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2. Penguin Plays Rough at City of Shadows

Sydney’s finest young storytellers – renowned for re-imagining short stories from a red velvet chair atop coffee tables from Newtown to the MCA, recreate stories from the notorious City of Shadows exhibition. The event culminates in a live performance from recent Underbelly Arts Festival participants, We Do Not Unhappen, who will act out the sordid crimes from decades past.

Friday 20 September
6pm – 10pm
Justice & Police Museum
Corner Phillip and Albert Streets,  Sydney
Adult $15 | Concession $10

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3. Eat Your History: A Shared Table

If your appetite for art is overcome by an appetite of a more physical nature, take a stroll through eight historic homes that capture the different ages of Sydney’s food experience. An unusual take on our history – and a way to indulge the senses.

28 September – 31 December
10am – 5pm daily
Museum of Sydney
Corner Bridge and Phillip Streets, Sydney
Adult $10 | Concession $5 | Family $20

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4. 52 Suburbs Around the World

Cities around the world are too often known for their postcard clichés. Renowned photographer Louise Hawson, with young daughter Coco in hand, travelled to 10 countries, 14 cities and 52 of their unusual and lesser-known suburbs. Hawson’s vibrant photographs turn the ordinary into extraordinary, capturing not only the differences between countries and cultures but also the remarkable similarities.

Open until Sunday 24 November
10am – 5pm Daily
Museum of Sydney
Corner Bridge and Phillip Streets, Sydney
Adult $10 | Concession $5 | Family $20

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5. Peru Amazonico

Go far away from the city and immerse yourself in a culture so ancient, primal and different to our own – you’ll be lost in the forest for hours. This exhibition captures Indigenous families living in the Amazonian rainforest, far from the influence of modern society.

5 September – 27 October
Sunday 11am – 5pm
Monday – Saturday 10am – midnight
Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay
Free

For this and much more, head to artandabout.com.au.

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