The Arts Bring Out Newburyport’s Best Side - Part 1

Nestled in the mouth of the Merrimack River, Newburyport provides a beautiful backdrop for any artist: gold-tinged marshes, fiery sunrises over the Atlantic, and the stark beauty of its winter storms have inspired decades of landscapes, still lifes, and photographs. But don’t think the only art in Newburyport lives on a canvas--far from it! Here is an eclectic sampling of some of the best artistic attractions in Newburyport.

Newburyport Art Walk

With over eighteen galleries and assorted art spaces, downtown Newburyport is designated as a State Cultural District by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Official downtown Art Walks are held four Saturdays out of the year, from April to November, but most galleries stay open year-round for visitors. During Art Walks, catch special exhibitions, participate in gallery-run workshops and lectures, and rub elbows with some of the finest artists working on the North Shore today. Galleries often host pop-up events, so keep an eye on the Art Walk website for news. Each Art Walk is self-guided, free and open to the public. Pick up a free map and gallery guide at Newburyport Art Association, 65 Water Street.

The Screening Room

A single screen and access to some of the best new and classic cinema out there makes the Screening Room an invaluable asset to the Newburyport culture scene. The intimate theater hosts Oscar contenders, little-seen arthouse and indie films, and time-honored favorites. If it’s a ‘must-see,’ it’s most likely coming to the Screening Room--plan ahead and arrive early, as the space can fill up fast! Showings listed at www.newburyportmovies.com.

Drink and Draw

Whether you’re a formally trained artist or like to doodle on napkins, belly up to your sketchbook for an evening of casual life drawing (or wherever your pencil takes you!). Drink and Draw is hosted twice monthly at the Port Tavern, with satellite events at Book and Bar in Portsmouth, NH. If drawing’s not your thing, models are always in demand--volunteers sit for ten-minute poses, often with fun props and costumes.Hang out and enjoy the creative vibe with a cold beverage in hand. www.newburyportdrinkndraw.com.

The Dance Place

This dance studio is THE place to drop in for classes in jazz, ballet, African, and flamenco, just to name a few. The skilled, creative, and talented instructors will guide you through proper technique, or give you space to shake it all off in an environment designed to make dancers of any level feel comfortable to express themselves. The Dance Place is home to two dance companies (Exit Dance Theatre, Joppa Dance Company) who perform locally and internationally, delighting and pushing boundaries with their body-over-mind philosophies. Visit www.danceplacenbpt.com for information about classes, companies, and events.

Maudslay Arts Center Concert Series

The sprawling, 19th-century splendor of Maudslay State Park comes alive on summer evenings thanks to guests of the Maudslay Arts Center. Musicians and performers of national and international renown light up the stage as the sun sets over the Merrimack River. Is jazz your thing? How about country western? Or is big band more your speed? Whatever your preference, pack a picnic dinner, spread out on the lawn, and let the music move you. www.maudslayartscenter.org.

Stay tuned for Part II next month!

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