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Provincetown :: Wednesday, April 23rd 2014

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Notes from Lands End

Treat Yourself to a Provincetown Gallery Crawl


September 11th, 2013

Provincetown, the oldest continuous arts colony in the U.S., is famous for its Friday Night Gallery Crawls; and rightfully so. With over sixty establishments selling paintings, antiques, photography, sculpture and crafts, starting your weekend along Commercial Street is guaranteed to be great.

With over sixty establishments selling paintings, antiques, photography, sculpture and crafts, starting your weekend with a stroll along Commercial Street is guaranteed to be great.

A little back-story: When train service began in 1873, a number of artists from New York, Chicago and the Midwest started to frequent the formerly inaccessible Provincetown. By 1908, the scene was flourishing. At one point, there were five art schools all packed with students living in shacks and eating the fish given to them by generous Portuguese fisherman. It was a graceful time.

In 1992, the year this very blogger washed ashore, Provincetown’s fine arts scene dominated the East End of town, with a few notable galleries in the center. Now, over twenty years later, there are artist studio/showrooms and spaces along the entire length of Commercial Street (and beyond).

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On any given Friday, from Memorial Day till the first Nor’easter of winter, the galleries throw open their doors at seven p.m. People fly from one space to the next like hummingbirds. Each show is unique; aesthetics range from a grouping of works, museum style, to paintings crowding walls and floors like one of Gertrude Stein’s Parisian salons.

Some venues serve lavish eats and wine while other put out a few bottles of red/white/rose and pour until it’s gone. People-watching is an integral part of the evening’s mystique. Patrons mingle with painters and collectors while surprised tourists sample the food, rubbing elbows with the local color that attend every week.

And then there’s the art: seascapes, constructions, still life paintings, abstractions and figure drawings that fill the senses with colors, forms and lines. It’s nearly impossible to see all of the shows on a Friday Night Gallery Crawl, so you can continue your stroll on Saturday.

Make sure to visit the renowned Fine Arts Work Center at 24 Pearl Street. The public can attend a wonderful array of free readings and open studios. For more information, contact FAWC at http//www.fawc.org.

Join us for a year-long celebration of “PAAM100: A Century of Inspiration.” Founded in 1914, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (460 Commercial Street) is an extraordinary institution. Go to http://www.paam.org to find out more.

The arts scene at Lands End is widely diverse, with a cultural aesthetic that embraces the “all of it”; the emerging painter is welcomed alongside perennial superstars. Provincetown is a wonderful place to gallery hop. Come see for yourself!

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