The island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, is a well-known destination for history and architecture buffs. But it is also a renowned cultural and art center which attracts visitors and artists from the whole country and around the world.
Nantucket, which used to be the “whaling industry capital of the world,” is a small island, but its local residents and the authorities, as well as numerous conservation and preservation organizations, are dedicated to protecting its history, culture, nature, and unique atmosphere.
If you are looking for artistic inspiration, this New England Island can easily become your muse. It has some of the most breathtaking landscapes, ocean views, endless beaches, historic cobblestone streets, lighthouses, and beautiful coastal mansions and cottages, with blooming flowers.
There are numerous art galleries, workshops, artisans, and artists working in Nantucket and displaying their nautical and historical-style artwork, handcrafted jewelry, baskets, and more.
If you have already booked a trip and found your dream house from Congdon & Coleman, you should definitely add the following galleries, museums, and events if you are interested in art and want to be inspired.
Gallery at Four India
Since it was first established in 1989, the Gallery at Four India has been an item on the bucket list of many fine art appreciators. The owner Kathleen Knight has been striving to include and present some exceptional artwork from leading contemporary artists in the gallery. There are various traditional, realism and abstract paintings and sculptures displayed at the Gallery at Four India and a collection of sailor valentines and fine art glassworks.
The gallery represents over 85 artists and has some of the best East Coast art in its revolving exhibit. It also offers consulting, purchasing, fine art rentals, and installation services.
The exhibition re-opens for the season on April 22nd, 2022, and is located on 4 India Street in downtown Nantucket.
Quidley & Company Fine Art Gallery
Quidley & Company is a highly respected and popular fine art company with galleries in Naples, FL, Westport, CT, and on 26 Main Street in Nantucket, MA.
The art gallery in Nantucket is in the historic downtown district on the picturesque Main Street.
It was established in 2006 by the art dealer Chris Quidley, who used to work at various art galleries and in Christie’s Auction House before opening his own galleries.
The first gallery in Nantucket is dedicated to representing and displaying traditional and contemporary realism paintings and art by leading American and international artists.
The art in the gallery includes landscapes, marine, figurative, narrative, still life, and abstract styles. The original gallery in Nantucket is more focused on traditional art, while the others have more contemporary realism works displayed.
Pete’s Fresh Fish Tales Prints
If you want to see and buy some unique Nantucket-style ocean art, then you should visit Pete’s Fresh Fish Tales Gallery at 17 Old South Wharf in Nantucket, located right next to the famous Slip 14 restaurant.
The owner, Peter Van Dingstee, practices the oriental art from the early 1800s known as Gyotaku. This is making prints of real fish on rice paper. The art appeared as a way to measure and record the actual size and features of each fish caught by the fishermen in Japan.
Pete started as an avid fisherman. Once he moved to Nantucket, he began creating this ocean-inspired artwork, which is considered a more sophisticated and artistic way to display a fish than taxidermy.
At his gallery, you can see and buy beautiful prints of actual fish caught on Nantucket.
You can also find these one-of-a-kind nautical style prints in several other towns in Massachusetts and can even order one online.
Robert Foster Fine Art
While you are strolling around the historic district of downtown Nantucket, you should definitely visit the Robert Foster Fine Art gallery. It is located on 8 India Street, right next to “Black-Eyed Susan’s,” and has won seven awards for the best art gallery on Nantucket since it was first established only 11 years ago.
The gallery has rotating exhibits of carefully curated collections of artworks by the best contemporary artists on the island of Nantucket.
You can go there to admire the art, buy or sell it, as well as take advantage of the professional art and design consulting services offered by owner Robert Foster.
The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum
While this is not a traditional art gallery, the Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum of Nantucket is a unique “hidden gem” venue to visit when spending time on the island. It includes artifacts and artwork celebrating the history of the island’s multiple shipwrecks and the local heroes who risked their lives to help save these ships and their crews through the centuries.
Apart from the ship models, artifacts, photographs, you can also see the permanent Robert Caldwell Collection and the annual featured exhibitions, which are unique every year.
The museum is located at the picturesque 158 Polpis Road, which can be reached by car, bike, or shuttle and is just 3.5 miles from downtown Nantucket.
Enroll in a Class at the Artists Association of Nantucket
The Association is dedicated to providing top-level artistic inspiration and education to children and adults of all ages. The courses are available all year round at the Visual Arts Center. These include painting, ceramics, printmaking, mixed media, drawing, and classes for children.
Some of the currently available art classes include Art Exploring classes for children aged 2 to 5 years, wheel throwing, art journaling, comics, monoprints, digital art and Photoshop, mixed media, monotype, floral watercolor, etc. Some of them are completely free too!
The center also offers rental studios, and there is a gallery where you can admire the artwork of local and guest artists too.
It is located at 24 Amelia Drive in Nantucket.