Beginning of Arts-Centered Culture
1920s – 1930s
The 1920s and 1930s saw the gay and lesbian presence flourish as contingents of artists, writers, playwrights, poets, novelists, journalists, socialists, radicals, and dilettantes began to summer in Provincetown. These newcomers found inspiration in this avant-garde town’s beauty and freedom of exploration. They were instrumental in developing Provincetown’s famous art colony and participated in the beginnings of modern American theater.The ability to experiment with varied art forms without fear of judgment eventually led to an artistic environment that spawned the first American school of art and birth of modern American theater. Many of the artists and their friends who enjoyed the intellectual freedom of Provincetown were gay. It was this sense of acceptance and the burgeoning art colony that drew more people to visit the avant-garde town at the outermost tip of Cape Cod.
It was not long before Provincetown became the place to spend the summer months for gay men and women. Soon thereafter, many summer regulars became permanent residents as they purchased guesthouses and other local businesses, further enmeshing themselves in the local fabric.
Since gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts in 2004, Provincetown has become the place to get married with over 1,400 marriage licenses issued to date. Couples chose Provincetown for its gay symbolism and the breath-taking backdrop of the town’s beaches. For more information on marriage, please visit Getting Married.