The In 1991 the lease for the Royal Artillery Hotel was signed over to the Kelly family. Not only was the venue established as a place for musicians to be heard, but the walls of the venue were canvases for artists alike. In keeping with the family's dedication to showcase original and independent artists, the family renamed the venue the Arthouse, or as it has become affectionately known to its patrons, the Arty. The enthusiasm, passion and participation of many people has established the Arthouse as a safe haven for original and independent bands and made it a truly vital aspect of Melbourne’s music scene. Monday's longest running 'open mic night' attracted poets and spoken word acts. The Arthouse was a truly diverse venue, welcoming artists of all genres.

On April 30th 2011, the doors closed on this beloved music venue at the end of the Kelly family's 20 year lease. Unfortunately this lease could not be renewed, as it seems the building is earmarked for residential re-development.

Over those 20 years, the 'Arty' became a second home to many artists, backpackers, musicians and music lovers. It gave young bands a place to play their first show and showcase their talents when other venues simply refused because they didn't want this 'alternative' music played in their pubs. This is why many bands who began their careers at the Arty, chose to play their final farewell show at the Arty. Not because they haven't reached the dizzying heights of international tours and sold out venues, but as respect to the venue that gave them that initial chance.

This was highlighted in its final month, where bands were grasping for the chance to grace the Arthouse stage that one last time, some even reforming for a one off show. The month of April saw iconic local bands including Mindsnare, Mid Youth Crisis, The Nation Blue and Frenzal Rhomb tear up the stage, to international acts such as Tim Barry and Frank Turner. Tickets were sold out within hours and people travelled from interstate and internationally, just to say their farewells and party with their mates at the Arty one last time. The final show was even broadcasted live on PBS 106.7 FM for the many fans that weren't able to get their hands on one of these most sort after tickets.

Australian bands The Living End, Augie March, Parkway Drive, Bodyjar, Something For Kate, Gyroscope, Miles Away, Kisschasy, The Getaway Plan, A Death In The Family, Carpathian, all who have enjoyed phenomenal national and international success, all started their careers at the Arthouse. But not only did the Arthouse showcase some amazing Australian bands, but it also welcomed touring international bands such as Against Me, Hot Water Music, Gorilla Biscuits, Leatherface, Lawrence Arms, Avail, A Wilhelm Scream and Samiam.

This book celebrates the 20 year history of this Melbourne music institution through images and stories gathered from its community.

The Book:

30x30cm hardcover coffee table style book. 200 pages of colour & B&W photography and Arthouse stories.

Compiled by Inga Liubinas.  Design by Nick Vine

Supported by an Arts Grant from City of Melbourne