Ask Chris: Recommendations for Art Travel?

by Chris on January 25, 2012

A reader who loves art asks for advice for some budget places to travel.
Shepard Fairey mural at Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, Art Basel, Miami, Florid

Shepard Fairey mural at Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, Miami

Question: I rarely get a chance to travel and I am considering a trip in February, the 20-26. I am not really bent on going any place in particular, but I really want an experience where I will be comfortable and occupied while travelling solo. I am a painter and printmaker and had thought an Art vacation could be fun, but they all seem to start in March and beyond. Do you have any thoughts? My budget is not huge so I kept checking travel deals and packages, but am wary of signing up for something that could be a mistake.

Answer: Do you like architecture? Palm Springs has its Modern week in February, although it might be over by the time you get there. Miami is known for its art galleries in the Design District and Wynwood neighborhoods, plus there are Art Deco tours on South Beach. Nearby Palm Beach also has some nice museums.

Museum admissions can add up if you aren’t careful. Luckily, many of the big city art outposts have dates or times when admission is free or reduced. If art is the focus of your trip, check these before you book.

As far as other arty cities go, Scottsdale has been having a Fine Arts Expo this year (and Tucson, which has a lot of Native American galleries, is not far away, so you could split your time between several cities). I would say New Orleans – I love the galleries and artists there – but Mardi Gras is on Feb. 21 so it will be more expensive and crazier than usual.

Otherwise, I’d pick a city that you’d like to visit – Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC – and really dive into their museum and gallery scene. February is busy in LA because of awards, but the other cities are relatively quiet during that time. Chicago has great museums too, but the weather in Feb. is pretty dicey.

Any art lovers out there have more recommendations for this reader? Leave them in the comments!  

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

kimba January 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

If I had a travel budget for February I would be heading back to the Yucatan in Mexico. As an artist I’m also an archaeology nut so this area of the world is fascinating to me.

The good points of February travel to this area is that it’s really warm, although not unbearable like in the summer, it’s inexpensive once you get away from the coast and into the jungle regions, and it’s easy to get around by public transportation. The Maya archaeological sites are endlessly fascinating and the colonial towns of Valladolid and Merida are too.

Take your sketchbook/journal, your camera, and a sense of adventure and you just might be surprised.

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Maria January 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm

If you’re budget is tight and you live in the US, try Washington, D.C. – everything on the ‘mall’ is free and if you contact your local congressman or senator you could score free tickets to tour a great number of governmental sites/offices/institutions.

Otherwise explore your own backyard. I’ve found wonderful art in tiny towns outside cities I’ve lived in all around the US.

Ex:
*Wind Turbines in Judith Gap, MT (IMO They’re kinetic sculptures)
*Hundreds of acres and nothing but tulips in every color imaginable – the Skagit Valley, Washington (state – approx 2 hrs N of Seattle)
*The Sculpture Ranch, Johnson City, TX.
*Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Winston-Salem, NC

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Laura March 1, 2012 at 8:40 am

My recommendation for Art travel: Rodin Museum in Paris :)

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Theodora March 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I’d probably head to Paris, London or, at a push, Venice. Both Paris and London — most obviously at Louvre and Pompidou Centre, National Gallery and Tate Modern, but also with many smaller niche museums — have outstanding selections of both earlier and modern art. While Venice is most famous for Canalettos &c the Guggenheim is outstanding too.

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