Enjoy the Arts Along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway this Winter

January 24, 2024

The winter months are the perfect time to visit the many wonderful art museums and galleries on the North Shore. It is no secret that a number of very famous artists were inspired by and in some cases lived in the coastal cities and towns along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway. From traditional maritime to more contemporary themes, we’ve pulled together a list of just some of the best destinations for art-lovers along the Scenic Byway. Enjoy!

Cape Ann Museum

Address: 27 Pleasant Street, Gloucester

The Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester is a treasure trove of art, history, and maritime heritage. Famous artists like Fitz Henry Lane and Winslow Homer have drawn inspiration from Cape Ann’s rich and diverse culture, which is home to numerous nationally important historical, industrial, and creative achievements. The museum provides a thorough overview of the area’s visual and cultural past, including everything from paintings and sculptures to historical items.

In addition to its permanent collections, the Museum offers a rotating schedule of special exhibitions throughout the year as well as related programs and events.

Rocky Neck Art Colony

Address: 6 Wonson Street, Gloucester

While many galleries on Rocky Neck are closed during the winter season, the Rocky Neck Art Colony (one of the oldest continuously operating art colonies in the United States) still organizes art and culture events all year round which showcase the work of their members. They also host a wide variety of workshops and classes using different mediums such as weaving, portrait drawing, and more. Take a look at their calendar of events to see where their next “pop-up” show is!

Lynn Museum/LynnArts & Galleries At LynnArts (GALA)

Lynn Museum Address: 590 Washington Street, Lynn

GALA Address: 25 Exchange Street, Lynn

Located in the heart of Lynn, the Lynn Museum/LynnArts is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history and culture of the city. For 125 years, the Lynn Museum & Historical Society has been the repository and custodian of Lynn’s history. With nearly 10,000 objects, an extensive archive, and a priceless photography collection, the Museum showcases Lynn’s rise from an early American settlement to an industrial powerhouse. They also host community events, workshops, and performances, making it a vibrant cultural hub.

You can also visit the Galleries At LynnArts (GALA) which is an arts based collaborative that is in the heart of the Lynn Cultural District. GALA currently leases the galleries within the LynnArts building and includes two galleries and a gallery shop filled with unique pieces that make special gifts produced by local artists and makers. These spaces are used to exhibit group and solo shows — view their current calls for art to get a sneak peek at upcoming activities.

Marblehead Arts Association

Address: 8 Hooper Street, Marblehead

The Marblehead Arts Association (MAA) is located in the historic King Hooper Mansion which was originally built in 1728 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The MAA currently serves 500+ artistically diverse artists and their space boasts six galleries of exhibits by association members and guest artists which rotate approximately every six weeks, displaying over 1,200 original works of art annually. Be sure to check out their current exhibits!

Peabody Essex Museum

Address: 161 Essex Street, Salem

This list would not be complete with mentioning the world-renowned Peabody Essex Museum in Salem known for its robust maritime collection as well as for their focus on the arts, humanities, and sciences. With over 1.8 million artworks, it boasts an impressive range of American, Asian, African, Oceanic, and Indian art. Their exhibitions, programs, publications, media, and related activities create experiences that transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world!

Their campus includes multiple historic homes and gardens and the Phillips Library which is a state of the art archival facility in Rowley. Don’t miss out on all that the PEM has to offer and don’t forget to check out their line-up of “drop-in” art activities this winter.

Newburyport Art Association

Main Gallery Address: 65 Water Street, Newburyport

Sister Gallery Address: Firehouse Center for the Arts, 1 Market Square, Newburyport

The Newburyport Art Association (NAA) is a cornerstone of this beautiful city’s vibrant arts scene. In addition to it’s two gallery spaces which house rotating exhibits featuring the work of distinguished members as well as other artists, it also has an outdoor sculpture garden exhibition. The NAA is dedicated to providing art educational opportunities, check out their community programs and available classes and workshops.

DIY Arts & Craft Experiences

Interested in making some art of your own? Here are a few fantastic arts & craft making options to consider for a fun-filled creative experience. From pottery to painting to woodworking, there are so many options to try your hand at.

Address: 186 Cabot Street, Beverly

Address: 296A Cabot Street, Beverly

Address: 3 Graf Road, Newburyport

Why not pair your day of enjoying the arts with a quick stop to a great local book shop? Want to find your new favorite place? Check out our blog post which lists some of the best book shops on the Scenic Byway!