The arts scene on Martha’s Vineyard thrives throughout the seasons. From fine art galleries to cultural centers to working studios, there are dozens of places to explore the rich history and incredible talent of Island makers and creators. Arts and culture lovers on Martha’s Vineyard never have to go far to find world class art, unique artifacts and friendly faces willing to share the story of their offerings. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the most eclectic places to be inspired and delighted by our local talent.
MVAA: Old Sculpin Gallery, 58 Dock Street, Edgartown
Formerly a sail loft, a whale oil factory, an old grain store, and a boat builder’s shed, the distinctive building now known as the Old Sculpin Gallery, home of the Martha’s Vineyard Art Association, is over 240 years old. Over the years its unique shingled tower has welcomed visitors to the waterfront along Edgartown’s harbor and today its wide floorboards and hand hewn beams welcome art lovers into its gallery and studio spaces. Incorporated in 1954, the MVAA opened for the benefit of the Island community: “to increase facilities of art education, create interest in the arts, make an art center for the whole Island, establish a permanent collection, and preserve an old landmark.” Today the gallery represents dozens of Island artists and hosts weekly receptions throughout the summer season.
Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks, 683 State Road, West Tisbury
Martha's Vineyard Glassworks was founded in 1992 and built on a piece of quintessential Island farmland. The studio was intended to be a facility for glassblowers to work every day, develop technical skills, create glasswork, and build a life around glassblowing. The glassblowing studio can be observed from the gallery, which allows customers to watch a work of art come to life, from the raw materials and an artist’s vision, to the final piece. Each piece is individually handblown without the use of finishing molds to achieve shape; rather, the consistency seen in the work is the result of repetition and a strict attention to detail. Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks has become a popular destination for glassworkers, tourists, artists, interior decorators, collectors, and trade workers alike.
Althea Designs Gallery, 34 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven
Althea Freeman-Miller of Althea Designs is known for her linoleum block printing technique examples of which are displayed all over the Island. Her bright and bold images often feature one graphic object, like a bird, or a bicycle, which she hand-carves onto pieces of wood. The designs are printed on hand carved linoleum blocks, making for unique shirts, cards, and other items. Visit Althea in her Vineyard Haven gallery for a chance to meet the artist and browse her iconic designs. Her workshop also features the work of other local artists including Conrado designs, Roy Bikini suits, Leslie Freeman pottery and Elysha Joy jewelry.
Chilmark Pottery, 145 Field View Lane, West Tisbury
Potter Geoffrey Borr moved to the Island of Martha's Vineyard in 1982 when he was inspired to establish a pottery studio in a peaceful and beautiful environment. The result of his efforts is Chilmark Pottery, located in a weathered, shingled barn tucked in among the trees of West Tisbury. Most days visitors will find the potters hard at work and willing to answer questions about their craft. Geoffrey's thoughtfully designed, hand-crafted pottery, in its distinctive seascape or copper-red hues, fill the shelves and line the porch rails. Throughout the year, Chilmark Pottery also offers classes. You’ll find Chilmark Pottery conveniently located right off State Road in West Tisbury.
Field Gallery, 1050 State Road, West Tisbury
The Field Gallery and Sculpture Garden is a unique artistic environment located in downtown West Tisbury, and one of the most Instagrammable spots on this list. Inside, three galleries present rotating exhibits of contemporary paintings, sculpture and photography. Outside, the large field is home to the whimsical sculptures of Field Gallery founder Thomas Maley, the modern stone sculptures of Lew French and many others. The gallery hosts an impressive group of more than 25 talented artists, all with an Island connection and endless Vineyard charm. Look out for weekly events and receptions in season, and, if time allows be sure to visit the Gallery’s nearby sister gallery, The Granary, the oldest and largest art gallery on Martha's Vineyard located in an iconic red barn.
Michael Blanchard Gallery, 93 Dukes County Avenue, Oak Bluffs
Formerly located in the Crossroads Gallery on Circuit Avenue, photographer Michael Blanchard has opened a new gallery at 93 Dukes County Avenue in Oak Bluffs in 2019. Michael is a well- known Island based photographer who discovered his passion for photography while in recovery for alcohol addiction. Michael expertly captures the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard and shares his inspirational photographs far and wide. According to Michael his photography serves as an expression of the happiness and serenity he feels in the absence of alcohol, and he actively supports others in their fight against addiction. View his work by visiting his Gallery, which also serves as a meeting place for Michael’s fans who find it a safe space to talk about healing from addiction and other life challenges.
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