Feeling Artsy in Massachusetts: Inspiring Cultural and Creative Travel Ideas

BOSTON – January 9, 2013 – Massachusetts is known as the Bay State, but with a plethora of art towns and villages throughout the Commonwealth, it could be called the art state. Museums, galleries, art centers, and festivals dot the landscape, adding to the rich fabric of Massachusetts’ culture – past, present, and future. Below are just a few of the highlights of art in Massachusetts. For more information visit www.massvacation.com/arts.

The Berkshires It’s easy to spend a few days or even weeks exploring the art communities in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. From outdoor exhibits to arts centers, fancy galleries to Shaker crafts, you can’t go far without encountering creativity and handiwork in one form or another. Every July, the Berkshire Arts Festival brings the work of dozens of artists to thousands of visitors during the Berkshire Arts Festival.  berkshirevisualarts.org  berkshiresartsfestival.com

Visitors flock from around the world to Shelburne Falls for a visit to the 400-foot Bridge of Flowers, a work of natural art that stretches across the river, providing a scenic and scented pathway for visitors. Galleries and showrooms such as the Salmon Falls Artisan Showroom and Shelburne Arts Co-op pay homage to the talents of Shelburne’s many resident artists.  massvacation.com/culturalDistricts

If furniture is more your interest, head to Pittsfield, home of the Hancock Shaker Village, where you will find over 1,000 examples of furniture designed in the distinctive Shaker style. Pittsfield, the first community west of Boston to receive official cultural district designation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts also offers events at Lichtenstein Center for the Arts 
in downtown Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District.

Planning an art itinerary in the Berkshires would not be complete without the addition of the Norman Rockwell Museum.  The Museum presents the world’s largest collection of original Norman Rockwell art, including beloved paintings from The Saturday Evening Post and the Four Freedoms, and the best in the field of American illustration. Surrounding Stockbridge sets the stage for learning about the life and legacy of American treasure. An annual Stockbridge Arts & Crafts Show, which takes place every August, allows visitors to experience America’s most famous Main Street.

The tiny town of North Adams in Massachusetts’ northwest corner is worth a visit alone for its natural beauty and Mt. Greylock’s hiking trails, but it’s also a destination for artist aficionados and food lovers. Since its opening in 1999, Mass MoCA has been a world class destination for both making and showing art. Mass MoCA features famous and emerging artists, performing art, and an exceptional education program that brings in more than 10,000 students annually to create their own art. Mass MoCA offers gourmet, on-site dining at Gramercy Bistro, making the museum a one-stop shop for a day of art and relaxation.

Gloucester - Rocky Neck Artists’ Colony –Beautiful New England coastline and an active fishing industry serve as the backdrop for the Rocky Neck Artists’ Colony giving visitors the best of both worlds – natural and cultural. Home to dozens of working artists, Rocky Neck is one of the country’s oldest art colonies and features nearly 40 galleries and businesses. Throughout the year, Rocky Neck hosts events that bring art-lovers from all over. Nights on the Neck, the first Thursday evening of the month from June to September, give visitors the opportunity to visit galleries, enjoy refreshments and entertainment, and get to know artists.

Lowell – Just a short commuter rail ride from Boston, Lowell is a city with a thriving arts scene. The Arts League of Lowell (ALL) fosters and celebrates the arts and creativity in Lowell with a main gallery that shows changing exhibits as well as a cooperative gallery that allows area artists to showcase their art.  The Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL) offers a roundup of all things culture in the city, including dance performances, literary art, film, and history. artsleagueoflowell.comcultureiscool.org

New Bedford – New Bedford is known as much for its arts and culture these days as it is for its whaling history. An organization called AHA! (Art, History, Architecture) has become a one-stop-shop for culture and the arts in the city.  The second Thursday night of each month is an AHA! cultural night, which involves more than 60 downtown museums, galleries, arts organizations, merchants, restaurants, churches and schools, The New Bedford Whaling MuseumThe UMD CVPA Star Store, and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. If you can’t make it on a Thursday, AHA!’s website can help you navigate your way around the New Bedford arts scene and help you to take advantage of everything this historic New England city has to offer.

Provincetown – A summertime vacation getaway for Massachusetts residents and visitors from around the world, the town at the very tip of Cape Cod is a bastion of creativity, spirit, and energy paired with a magnificent natural beauty. Since the early 20th century Provincetown has been known for its art and literature and continues today to buzz with artistic offerings. In addition to the many galleries and festivals in the seaside town throughout the year, Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) hosts workshops on painting, drawing, photography, and various other art forms.

About MOTT
The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) is the state agency dedicated to promoting Massachusetts as a leisure-travel destination. An integral part of the state’s economy, tourism generates more than $915 million in state and local taxes and $14.4 billion in travel related expenditures and supports 121,500 in-state jobs. Web site: http://www.massvacation.com/

Contact: Lisa Simmons, MOTT

Lisa.Simmons@state.ma.us

617-973-8508

Vicki Cimino, Connelly Partners

vcimino@connellypartners.com

617-470-8878