Guide to Orleans Art Galleries
A Mecca for Art Lovers
By Laurie Higgins
Orleans has long been a destination for lovers of the arts, which is why the Massachusetts Cultural Council designated the town as one of their official cultural districts in May of 2013. The Orleans Village Center Cultural District is a walkable treasure trove of wonders, where art meets history and forms community. The artists and art galleries in town capture the beauty of our region in a wide variety of creative ways that offer a personal slice of Cape Cod. Here are some of our favorites.
Housed in a charming old red house, the Addison Art Gallery draws visitors from around the world to see the shows that change weekly in season and once or twice a month off season. Gallery owner Helen Addison represents the work of over 30 artists who work in oil, acrylic, egg tempera, watercolor, pastel, sumi, bronze, wood, raku, resin and ceramic. It is the only gallery in Massachusetts ever chosen by the prestigious Oil Painters of America for a show. Prices range from $300 to $30,000.
Tree’s Place started as a regional gallery, but some of the early artists grew to become nationally known and the gallery now has the attention of the national and international art scene. Gallery Director Julie Bangert says that a majority of the painters in the gallery work from life, and oil dominates with some egg tempera artists, two sculptors and one very accomplished bird carver. Tree’s Place represents about 35 artists. Prices range from $500 to $50,000.
Gallery owner Alison Collins at the Collins Galleries has a long history of gallery experience in town and her gallery features the work of 16 painters as well as her father’s handmade colonial furniture and lightship baskets. She prefers the classic imagery and academic realism of art derived from life in the form of still lifes and landscapes. Most of the paintings in the gallery are oil, but she also represents watercolor and acrylic artists. Prices range from $1,200 to $70,000.
Gallery 31 Fine Art began as an artists’ cooperative gallery, but is now owned by Sherry Rhyno. In addition to selling her own oils and pastels, Rhyno represents about 14 other artists, who all have given her a Cape Cod exclusive, including Richard McKinley, who was inducted into the Pastel Society of America’s Hall of Fame. The four subjects most often found at Gallery 31 are beaches, waves, bogs and dunes. Rhyno also holds workshops for artists in her downstairs workshop space. Prices range from $150 to $6,000.
Eastwind Gallery is a cooperative gallery that features the work of 10 local artists working in oils, acrylics, pastels and photography. Their selection includes still lifes, seascapes, landscapes and abstract art. It is the only gallery in the area that houses studios where visitors can see artists at work. The small works area features framed and unframed paintings as well as ceramic tiles treated from original artwork. Prices begin at $50, but are mostly in the $200 to $1000 category.
The 16 members of Coastal Craft Gallery are all local artists who jointly own the gallery. Everything in the gallery is original art and visitors have the opportunity to meet members because they also run the store. The art represents a wide variety of mediums including painting, collages, printmaking, photography, stained glass, slumped glass, woodworking, weaving, fiber crafts, jewelry and leather. Prices range from $5 to $900, with a lot of items in the $40 to $60 price range, making the gallery a good place to visit for gifts and souvenirs.
Artist Catherine Wissmann, owner of By the Sea Driftwood Company, scours the beach to collect driftwood and shells and scavenges flea markets and estate sales for marine hardware. She combines her finds into fun and functional home accessories that include small furniture, lamps, picture frames, mirrors, candle sconces, centerpieces and wreaths. She also does custom work. Prices range from $10 to $700.
Saltworks Fine Art is a cooperative gallery featuring the work of six artists who focus on contemporary realism and impressionism. They capture the Cape’s renowned light, natural beauty and timeless scenes using a variety of mediums including oil, acrylic, watercolor, encaustic, colored pencil and photography. One or more of the artists is always present to provide insight into the process that created each piece of art. Prices range from $200 to $500.