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The Coolest and Quirkiest Art Scenes in America

Art is so much more than paintings hanging on a wall. It can encompass not just visual works, but things like plays, comedy shows, dance troupes, poetry, and writings.

America’s varied art scenes celebrate all this and more.

Portland, Oregon

Portland’s vibrant art scene is not just due to its galleries, but also its theatre experiences and many festivals.

Portland hosts more than 20 film festivals a year. It also has a book festival every November, the Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival that celebrates Native American culture, and the Fertile Ground Festival, which showcases new and innovative works of theatre, comedy, and dance.

The Portland Art Museum is the largest museum in Oregon. Its collections include prints and drawings, photography, Asian art, Native American art, Northwest art, and European and American collections.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Portland State University puts contemporary artwork in the spotlight, and its galleries feature art by Northwest artists, faculty, and students, as well as exhibitions by national and international artists.

As you stroll the streets looking for the next great exhibit, pay attention to the Portland houses for sale, which can provide a home in this artistically rich area.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

New Mexico’s capital is a work of art in itself, with bright blue skies and stunning landscapes. It’s the home of Georgia O’Keefe and has a museum named after her that houses the largest collection of her colorful artwork.

There are over 100 galleries to go through, from contemporary to classic art. Native American Art plays a big role in Santa Fe. The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the Wheelwright Museum have incredible collections on display.

Santa Fe’s performing arts cover a wide array of talent. You can see ballet performances and classical concerts, opera singers, modern dancers, and native storytellers.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is a place of cobblestone streets, historic buildings, lush gardens, and beautiful bodies of water. It’s no wonder it serves as inspiration for artists. 

Gallery Row is a series of fine art galleries on broad street, where you can take home a piece of Charleston art.

The French Quarter is home to a large selection of fine art and jewelry in various styles and mediums.

Take in a show at the Charleston Playhouse, Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina, or Charleston Stage Company.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association has more than 700 members who specialize in a number of mediums: clothing, jewelry, artisan skincare, apothecary, pottery, artwork, and more.

The city is dotted with commissioned murals, like the massive Bob Dylan mural, Aztec Temple Panorama, and Paddling Squirrels.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art houses fine and decorative art from six continents – and admission is free.

You can also explore the Museum of Russian Art, Weisman Art Museum, and WALRUS, an artist-led consignment shop where you can buy one-of-a-kind pieces created by local artists.

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden greets visitors with over 40 sculptures, among them the Spoonbridge & Cherry.

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