America’s Oldest Continuous Art Colony

Provincetown is a haven for artists and art appreciators alike. As America’s oldest continuous art colony, everyone can enjoy the local art in many different ways throughout the calendar year. The rich artistic history started in 1916 when Charles Hawthorne, a famous American portraitist, arrived in Provincetown for the summer. Since then, there has always been a notable artist working on their craft and sourcing inspiration from the beauty and wonder of Provincetown, MA. While some might consider Provincetown only a summer destination, there are galleries to visit and artists to meet year-round. There are events happening during the winter months that showcase local artists, as well as institutions open year-round that attract people to come see the art for themselves.

Through the winter until the late spring, the Mews Coffeehouse puts on shows highlighting local musical talent. Each Monday, the concert starts with an open mic, where anyone who is in town and wants to share some of their own art can sign up and perform before the scheduled act. The coffeehouse series is a great way to get acquainted with established as well as up-and-coming talent that continues to contribute to the long-standing tradition of creative enterprises and appreciation for the arts.

This year, the 9th Annual 24 Hour Play Festival took place at the Provincetown Theater on February 16th – 17th. Although only recently established compared with many of the long-standing artistic traditions of Provincetown, this theatrical marvel is a uniquely impressive creative display. During the event, playwrights, actors, and directors create a show from concept to final bows in just one day. Many theatre lovers flock to Provincetown every year to watch their final performance. From songs that take years to rehearse to plays that are produced within a single day, winter art events in Provincetown are thriving.

With a handful of the 60 Provincetown art galleries open during the winter months, several outstanding institutions ensure that artists can continue to create in Provincetown year-round. In 2018, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, a non-profit organization that hosts a residency program for emerging artists and writers, celebrated their 50th year. This center hosts 50 artists during the winter season, in addition to the hundreds of artists that flock during the summer months for their summer workshops. It has grown from a small group of determined artists to another world-renown staple of the Provincetown community.

In addition, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, a cultural icon that marries the energetic enthusiasm of the artists and the beauty of Cape Cod is open year-round and has a special appreciation for the quieter, winter months. The Chief Executive Officer at the PAAM, Chris McCarthy, says “The off-season in Provincetown is brimming with creativity.  At the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, classes are in full swing – students of all ages are busy in PAAM’s studios and excellent examples of the important legacy we uphold are on the walls in our galleries.” They welcome visitors from all walks of life, every month of the year, to come and see what Provincetown inspired works are on display and in production.

All mediums and forms are represented and celebrated in the Provincetown art scene. If you are looking for a town where you can find a thriving theatre, poetry, painting, and music scene all within a couple of miles – Provincetown is the place to be.