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The Underrated Art Scene of Orleans, Massachusetts

Although Cape Cod is known for its arts scene, Orleans isn't always mentioned in the same breath as communities like Provincetown, Sandwich, and Wellfleet.

That's a mistake, however, as Orleans has an abundance of art galleries in a small area, making it a wonderful place to explore paintings and other pieces by local and nationally-recognized artists.

In fact, if you live near downtown Orleans, you can walk to the majority of these galleries in a matter of minutes, making it an excellent location for art lovers to buy a home.

Orleans is a vibrant community with access to both Cape Cod Bay and the Cape Cod National Seashore, which is reason enough to consider buying a home here. The art scene is just icing on the cake because it provides the opportunity to decorate your new house with high-end artwork.

Here's a look at some of the art galleries in Orleans, MassachusettsPhotograph of a beach in Orleans, MA

Art Galleries on Route 28

As you come into Orleans from the south, you'll likely do so on Route 28. This major road starts at the Bourne Bridge and runs the entire Cape's entire length, going through Chatham before heading into Orleans and merging with Route 6. Just before Route 28 exits downtown Orleans, you'll find a couple of art galleries nearby.

The first gallery you'll see is Addison Art Gallery,  which features the works of well-known artists like Jonathan Earle, Stephanie Foster, Marc Hanson, and Paul Schulenburg, to name a few. Addison Art Gallery is a diverse location that is accessible for newcomers to the art world and seasoned collectors alike. The venue also hosts special events, including workshops, throughout the year, so you can learn more about the artistic process and even meet some of the creators.

A short distance from Addison is Yak Arts International, which is more of an art store than an art gallery, but it remains a special place for art lovers. Every piece here is hand-selected by the owners, providing Orleans residents with unparalleled access to paintings and sculptures from all over the world. If you're looking to source some new artwork for your home, Yak Arts is worth visiting.

Old King's Highway Art Galleries

Most of the art galleries in Orleans are on the Old King's Highway in the heart of downtown. There's very little distance separating the Old King's Highway from Route 28, however, so everything is walkable.

On the north end of downtown is Tree's Place, a contemporary gallery featuring the works of Gary Akers, Marcia Burtt, Wendy Carney, Clifton Hunt, and Jenny Kelley. The gallery has a massive collection of paintings and sculptures and has regular exhibitions that are open to the public. The venue acts as a consignment store, as well, so local art lovers can buy pieces that other homeowners are trying to unload. You never know what you'll find for sale at this location.

Walking down the Old King's Highway, you'll pass some smaller galleries like Jim Holland, Rowley/Munn, and Oma before coming to Orleans Modern Art, another contemporary American gallery. This venue features the works of Frank Gardner, Taylor Fox, Alen Morehouse, and Vincent Amicosante, most of which are from the 20th century. Orleans Modern Art hosts plenty of events, in addition to workshops, making it a must-visit for those who are serious about art.

Continuing on the Old King's Highway takes you past the Left Bank Gallery and the Coastal Craft Gallery, both of which are slightly off the main road. You'll also come across Gallery 31 Fine Art, Cape Cod's preeminent gallery for soft pastels. You'll also find a variety of oil and watercolor paintings at this venue, which was named the number one fine art gallery on Cape Cod for 2020 by Cape Cod Life. Artists featured at this venue include Arnie Casavant, Mary Wojciechowski, and Philip Selzer.

Outside of Downtown Orleans

While most art galleries in Orleans are downtown, Kely Knowles Rock Harbor Gallery sits in a peaceful residential neighborhood near Rock Harbor. This venue is entirely dedicated to the works of Kely and David Knowles, with Kely focusing on watercolors, ink pen, and wood sculptures, and David working on large fish sculptures.

If you're interested in checking out some great artwork made right in Orleans, make an appointment at this venue to have a look around and potentially buy a one-of-a-kind piece.

Getting to Know the Orleans Art Scene

As you can see, Orleans has far more art galleries to explore than you might have thought, making it an excellent place for art lovers to buy a home. Whether you're looking to outfit your house in works by local painters or just like to browse, Orleans has opportunities for both.

When choosing where you buy a home on Cape Cod, you'll want to consider your ideal lifestyle. If you'd like your days to include beaches, restaurants, history, and art, Orleans should be high on your list of places to discover.

Published July 15, 2020 in Get to Know Cape Cod, Exploring Our Area