Experiencing the Art of Worcester: Featuring ArtsWorcester and the Worcester Art Museum

With all the culture and wonder that each town has to offer, it can often be a bit difficult to know where to look for a town's true spirit. Although historical areas will no doubt tell a story about the town's background, it is sometimes more valuable to visit museums and local art galleries. Artists reflect what they see in the world around them, and they give it back to the viewer. Local artists are able to bring vibrancy to their city, and educate others not only about art, but about the landscape and true beauty of a town. ArtsWorcester and the Worcester Art Museum are two organizations that are helping to promote art, thereby promoting the city's pride.


Since 1979, ArtsWorcester has been best known for working with (and supporting) the local, contemporary artists of the town. With exhibit locations at their main gallery space at 660 Main Street, and in the Hadley Building and Hanover Theatre across the street, this organization is able to bring local art to the public free of charge. Most of their exhibits are member shows, in which all members may have a piece included. The remaining exhibits are solo or small group member shows, in which the pieces featured are selected by two separate committees. In addition, a College Show is held annually, which invites students from area institutions to submit a piece to be displayed in a professional gallery.

Juliet Feibel, Executive Director of ArtsWorcester speaks out about why it is so important to promote local art.

"Every great city-and region-has artists working at its core. They bring vibrancy to our cities, creativity to our planning processes, and education to all. They also contribute to the economy; every artist is by necessity an entrepreneur. When I moved here, I learned to see so much more beauty in the New England landscape once I had seen paintings and drawings depicting it by artists. It's not just that it's important to have local artists thriving amongst us, but it's important for everybody to have art that's inspired by our local lives."

Becoming a member of ArtsWorcester will give you invaluable access to local art, and also provide a really exciting way to get to know the city. If you are an artist, you will get the chance to exhibit your work, run workshops on business skills for artists, offer grant opportunities, and connect to other talented artists in the area. If you simply love the arts, this is where you can be a part of the local art scene and learn about up-and-coming artists. You don't need to know anything about art to join. Just go enjoy yourself!

Worcester Art Museum

Another great way to learn about art is to visit the Worcester Art Museum down on Salisbury Street. This iconic location is world-renowned for its 37,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, arms and armor, decorative arts, photography, prints, drawings and new media. Although they do display contemporary art, they are best known for their ancient treasures that span over 5,100 years of art and culture. With a conservation department that is highly skilled in this practice, the museum is able to preserve older pieces and educate visitors on past history.

Perhaps unlike other art organizations in the area, the Worcester Art Museum really makes an effort to display real, raw, inspiring pieces. Currently there is an "Africa's Children of Arms" exhibit which shows haunting images of child soldiers in various countries across the continent. The images truly tell a story, of haunting pasts and hopeful futures. Another example is a photomontage by Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, now displayed on the entrance wall of the museum. Take a look at the piece below:

As you can see, this husband and wife team is known for creating hauntingly beautiful pieces that often raise questions about human responsibility, Earth's vulnerability, and the ways of human nature. Visitors are often seen entering the museum and staring at the piece for long periods of time, examining the long canvas and trying to get a true sense of the artist's message. It is pieces such as these that really push the envelope and force visitors to become entranced in their surroundings. It turns their common visit to a museum into a truly unique experience filled with adventure and an abundance of attainable knowledge.

Worcester will always be known as a city that offers a great selection of art. With collections of contemporary art provided by ArtsWorcester, to classic, ancient art from the Worcester Art Museum, you are sure to find something that suits your personal taste. Be sure to take advantage of Community Days, which offers great programs for all ages. Also, the Museum offers free admission on the first Saturday morning of each month. With a variety of tours offered daily, and different events held monthly, there is something for everyone.

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