Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Provincetown has long been a haven for artists. Seasonal visitors and locals alike have contributed to the town’s legacy as the oldest continuous art colony in America. This rich legacy of art on the Outer Cape is showcased at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM). The museum is located on
Commercial Street, just a stone’s throw away from several galleries showcasing still more of the area’s art. The museum’s collection of nearly 4,000 pieces by over 700 artists span several major art movements and provide visitors a window into the twentieth century and contemporary artists that have been inspired by the Outer Cape. Visitors can enjoy works from the permanent collection as well as special exhibitions in the museum’s six gallery spaces. And don’t miss the three serene sculpture gardens.
PAAM was closed due to the pandemic for part of 2020 but has reopened with safety in mind. Open year-round, Thursday-Sunday from 12pm to 5pm, visitors must book a ticket for one of 4 hour-long time slots. (The first hour of which is reserved for those over 60 or those who are high risk.) The slots allow 15 people or less to enjoy the museum, being mindful to keep their distance from others. In addition to rigorous disinfecting routines, the museum has moved its popular gift and book shop online. There is an admission fee of $12.50, though members and children under 16 are admitted free. There is also reciprocal admission for members of a number of other New England institutions. More information about visiting and safety measures can be found on the PAAM website.
The museum, founded in 1914, is still expanding its collection at a rate of around one hundred works per year. The pieces are gifted by collectors who value keeping the region’s art in the place it was created. Some of their collection even comes from a town doctor who amassed an extensive collection by accepting artwork as payment for medical care!
In addition to growing their collection of works PAAM is also working to grow and sustain artists of all ages on the Outer Cape. Since the 1920’s they have participated in the region’s tradition of providing art instruction. The Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Museum School offers year-round workshops on a variety of techniques and topics. They are currently being offered either online or outdoors (en plein air).
The workshops are a great way for visitors to channel the now infamous artists who made stopovers in Provincetown, many of whom have works in the museum and surrounding galleries. PAAM also offers a variety of programs for students, a great way to fill summer days, school vacations, and more!
For artists looking for a more immersive experience, PAAM is part of the Outer Cape Artists in Residency Consortium, which offers artist-in-residence opportunities in Provincetown’s remarkable Dune Shacks.