A Stroll Through Arts District in Oak Bluffs


Time to move our gallery stroll to Oak Bluffs. First, my apologies to all of the wonderful galleries I do not include in my ruminations. I know there are many, but I am trying to keep my selection to a literal stroll. Perhaps, in the future, I will blog about the notable artistic destinations that require transportation. For now, we’ll stick to Oak Bluffs on foot.

We’ll start by leaving the crowds on Circuit Avenue and wind our way through the peaceful, colorful campgrounds to Dukes County Avenue where, for a number of years, a group of talented and enterprising people have slowly been building up an expanding community called the Arts District. Begin at the newly renovated old firehouse, now theAlison Shaw Gallery.  I don’t know a soul who doesn’t catch his or her breath the first time they see Alison’s colorful photography. Her prints of everything from the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market to a peaceful dawn on Oak Bluffs Harbor are just the reminders of the Vineyard that you’ll want to take home.

Cross the street and check out the Dragonfly Gallery. Under new management this year, it is still an intimate and inviting venue for an eclectic collection of island paintings, photographs, and sculptures.

Next, turn right outside the door and walk two doors down to PIK NIK, a treasure trove of delights for the eyes. In the main building, you’ll find contemporary art, accessories, jewelry, and apparel. A great place to find unusual gifts! The Studio Annex in the back displays the exciting work of emerging new artists. Plan to spending a little time here.

Now, let’s wander back to busy Circuit Avenue. Notice how the light and shadows have changed in the campground since you walked through earlier. Doesn’t it make you want to take out your camera and give Alison Shaw a run for her money? There is unlimited inspiration for artists on Martha’s Vineyard.

Make a right turn on Circuit Ave. for a short walk to one of Oak Bluffs’ most prized institutions, the Cousen Rose Gallery, now in its 30th year. The bright and charming, pink gingerbread style building holds a wonderful offering of original art, one of a kind jewelry, and gift items.

If you have time for one more and want something completely different, walk just a little further on upper Circuit and turn left onto Uncas Avenue to the brand new NYE Gallery, where you’ll feel like you’ve just been beamed to Soho. The atmosphere and artwork is contemporary, fun, and refreshing.

Speaking of refreshing, it’s now probably time to rest your feet by the harbor and refresh yourself with something tall and cold. Watch the boats drift in and out and prepare yourself for another delightful, artistic adventure in Vineyard Haven.

Image courtesy of Alison Shaw


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