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Arts & Culture

The natural beauty of Cape Cod calls to visitors and residents alike, including the many artists and art admirers who pass through Provincetown each year.

Inside the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

“Ptown is such an artist community—and there is no artist in me—but the minute your feet touch the ground here, you are an artist.”

Arts & Culture

America’s Art Colony

The natural beauty of Cape Cod calls to visitors and residents alike, including the many artists and art admirers who pass through Provincetown each year. Provincetown is America’s oldest continous art colony mixed with a flourishing contemporary art scene. It has welcomed artists for over a hundred years through its galleries, museums, and art houses. 

The Provincetown Art Association and Museum, which expanded in 2006.

Provincetown Art Association and Museum & Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center

The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) is over 100 years old and open year-round. PAAM has cemented itself as a cultural institution and must-visit destination for local and regional art. The permanent collection at PAAM includes over 3,000 works by more than 700 artists, including hundreds who have called Cape Cod home. Friday nights are free after 5 pm.

The Provincetown Fine Arts Works Center is a cornerstone for contemporary art in Provincetown with a focus on developing and encouraging emerging artists and writers. From readings and art talks to exhibitions there are tons of opportunities to meet the artists and learn more about their work. The center has residencies aimed at artist development and holds scheduled talks and numerous programs focused on writing and visual arts.

The Kobalt Gallery after it snows. Photograph by Paul Jarvie.

Art Galleries

Provincetown and art have been in a relationship for over one hundred years. Many art galleries feature the work of local artists and beyond. CNN Travel took notice of Provincetown’s art scene and status as America’s oldest continuous art colony.  

East End & Commercial Street

Provincetown’s East End section is known as the gallery district due to the high concentration of art galleries in the area. A walk down Commercial Street will reveal over 40 art galleries to peruse for local art. Not to be missed are the weekly Friday night art openings—a perfect setting to meet the artists and gallery owners. Kick back, relax, sip some wine, and enjoy all Provincetown artists have to offer, now and all year round. For a full list of galleries, see the Provincetown Gallery Guide.

The Pilgrim Monument beneath the glow of a daytime moon. Photograph by Angela Russo.

The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum

The Pilgrim Monument stands as a symbol for the Pilgrim’s arrival and subsequent stay at Provincetown before going to Plymouth. The Pilgrim Monument has a Town lighting every November to remember this moment. Provincetown Museum has exhibits on Provincetown’s overall history and the actual building of the Pilgrim Monument.

A half-scale model of the Rose Dorothea, which spans more than 66 feet at the Provincetown Public Library. Photograph by Paul.

Provincetown Public Library

The Provincetown Public Library is free and worth a visit. It used to be a church back in 1860. It was turned into a museum around 1960. The museum didn’t pan out, but the Town wouldn’t let the former church-turned-museum fade, so it was made into a library.  On the 2nd floor of the library features a replica of the Rose Dorothea, a schooner that won the Lipton Cup back in 1907. It’s encouraged to catch a view of the Rose Dorothea from the library’s mezzanine level.

An old Provincetown Theatre sign displayed on the beach.

Theaters & Performances

The Provincetown Theater is known as the birthplace of the American Theater. This is due to the Provincetown Players theater group making their impact in the early 20th century, eventually setting the foundation and launching the careers of modern American theater pioneers Eugene O’Neill and Susan Glaspell. The Provincetown Player’s impact led to the birth of the Provincetown Playhouse in 1918, which is located at Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.

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“Ptown is such an artist community—and there is no artist in me—but the minute your feet touch the ground there, you are an artist. It’s amazing for even one day to be a part of that feeling.”