At the turning point of Cape Cod, where the peninsula swings north and begins to narrow, you’ll find the town of Orleans. With Cape Cod Bay on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, plus many small bays and inlets, Orleans has a long history of seagoing and a devotion to arts and culture that’s earned the entire town the designation as an official Cultural District of Massachusetts. Your perfect getaway starts here.
Fine Art with History Next Door
Begin your day at the Addison Art Gallery, representing emerging and master artists from across the United States, Canada, and France. This summer, Addison Art Gallery will present numerous shows and events, including internationally-collected artist Paul Schulenburg’s 21st one-man show on July 10th, and a celebration of the Addison Art Gallery’s 25th Summer on July 31st. Other artists highlighted include Paul Batch and Jonathan Earle, Jonathan McPhillips, Marc Kundmann, Sharon McGauley and Maryalice Eizenberg, Andrea Petitto, and Sara Jane Doberstein.
Next door to the Addison Art Gallery, you’ll find fascinating history at the French Cable Station Museum. The French Cable Station was the American termination point for a telegraph cable from France, installed in 1898. During World War I, General Pershing in France communicated with the American government through this cable station. In 1927, the message about Charles Lindbergh’s successful landing of his solo flight came here from Paris first before going on to the rest of the country. You can take a free guided tour of an historic collection of original Atlantic undersea telegraphic cables, instruments, maps, and assorted memorabilia.
Pottery and Painters
Head north to Route 6A and visit Kemp Pottery, a studio/gallery specializing in wheel-thrown and hand-built stoneware, as well as porcelain functional and decorative ware. Father-and-son team Steven and Matt Kemp create distinctive lamps, dinnerware, commemorative plates, tiles, sinks, garden sculpture, fountains, stained-glass, and abstract and figurative sculpture.
Turn south on 6A and you’ll come to The Gallery at Tree’s Place. Tree’s Place is one of the leading dealers of representational painting in the nation, proud home to some of the finest living painters working in this genre. Tree’s Place is holding two Summer Salons featuring beautiful new works from resident Tree’s artists. Summer Salon I is on view from June 12th to July 29th and Summer Salon II from July 31st to September 17th. Both are free and open to the public.
Art at the Intersection
Further south, Route 6A and Main Street meet, and throughout this area are numerous galleries, as well as shops and restaurants. First, take a left on Cove Road and stop by the Left Bank Gallery, where cherry floors set off contemporary crafts and fine art. With the idea that art should be part of our living environments, the gallery pairs canvases and sculptures with functional art for the home.
Across from the Left Bank Gallery, be sure to visit the humpback whale sculpture. The leaping whale is connected by an eel to the starfish base, a perfect tribute to the water on both sides of Orleans.
Tucked behind the intersection of Main Street and Route 6A is Gallery 31 Fine Art. The premiere fine art gallery for soft pastels on Cape Cod, as well as works in oil, watercolor, and alcohol ink, Gallery 31 has a stunning exhibition of still lifes and paintings of the sea and shore of Cape Cod.
Also at the intersection, Eastwind Studio & Gallery is a cooperative gallery of award-winning Cape Cod artists featuring original works of fine art in various media including oil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic, jewelry, and photography. It’s not only a gallery, but also a working studio, and the artists love to share their process with visitors.
Local Artists Shine Here
Coastal Craft Gallery on Main Street Square is a cooperative of local Cape artisans presenting their specialized crafts and fine art. One of the artisans is always minding the shop and can talk to you about their work, which includes a variety of jewelry techniques, paintings, strokework, sailor’s valentines, printmaking, photography, pottery and clay sculptures, glassware and glass sculpture, and more.
The Artist Cottages, in Orleans Market Square between Route 6A and Old Colony Way, nurture and celebrate the creativity and talent of established and emerging Cape Cod artists and artisans. This year the Cottages feature photographers, potters, fabric artists, painters, mixed media artists, and jewelers, all chosen by a jury process.
Continue on Old Colony Way and take a left on West Road, where you’ll find two galleries located at number 12. Alice Mongeau Gallery and Studio features the work of a Cape Cod painter who combines the impressionistic and classical. Primarily a landscape painter, Mongeau’s subject matter includes intimate interiors, still life, portraiture, and the figure in and out of nature. Collins Galleries was established in 2011 to showcase the work of accomplished representational artists. The Summer Exhibition is July 17th to August 6th, with an opening reception on July 17th.
Take the next left and head to 129 Route 6A, Trove Art Gallery & Boutique. All of the products and artwork in Trove, including wall art, jewelry, ceramics, décor, and more, are made by local artists, makers, and creators.
Learn About Photography and Get Lost in Antiquities
Returning to the intersection of 6A and Main Street, take a right and visit two more special galleries. Bob Korn Imaging and The Gallery Upstairs is the home of a master photographic and digital printmaker. Bob Korn’s prints are found in every major collection throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian. Korn offers workshops, lectures, and tutorials. The Gallery Upstairs is a place of creative exposure and dialogue for great photography and the printed piece.
The Gallery at Post Office Square is a 2,300-square-foot shop staged like a home, with traditional and modern furniture, decor, plus first edition books, framed maps, fine art, and antiquities. Their motto is, “If it is not unique and wonderful, we don’t have it!”
Live Family Theater Returns to Orleans this Summer
Two family-friendly plays will be on stage at the Academy Playhouse’s unique and historic theater. In July, “The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet” is a whimsical reinvention of Shakespeare’s tragic love story, complete with rhymed couplets, creative wordplay, and fantastical machines. “Charlotte’s Web,” an enchanting play based on the classic by E.B. White, will be performed in August.
Orleans is a terrific destination for a vacation full of art and culture. Everywhere you turn, you’ll be surrounded by art and artists.
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