You’re stuck in a rut. Wherever you go, you feel bored, lost, and uninspired. You feel restless. You need a complete change and you’re considering a move. But the traditional hubs of American artistic activity promise too much clamor and not enough creativity.
Before you settle for New York or San Francisco, look into these less-traveled art havens.
- Charlotte, North Carolina
The rapidly growing Charlotte combines Southern charm with urban life. Known as the Queen City, Charlotte boasts a rich history dating back to the 1700s. In 1775, local leaders signed the Mecklenburg Resolves-one of the documents that eventually led to the American Revolution.
Today, you can experience the annual commemorative “MecDec” reenactment, complete with cannon fire, in Independence Square. For a more serene retreat, tour the Cathedral of Saint Patrick-the American seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Designed by Austrian architect Frank Frimmer, the cathedral features a 400-seat nave and a 77-foot tower.
Charlotte offers glimpses into the past that may inspire your artistic future. But the city refuses to stay mired in its history. The city hosts eight Fortune 500 companies, specialized performing arts centers, and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.
- Iowa City, Iowa
When you think of Iowa, you may assume “The Music Man” is as imaginative as this Midwest state’s city gets. But you only need to visit Iowa City for persuasion to the contrary. Iowa City serves as the home of one of the nation’s top universities and a thriving arts community.
From the Iowa Literary walk which entwines author’s words with beautiful bronze architecture to the Iowa Biennial Exhibition that showcases wonders of contemporary printmaking, Iowa City offers beauty and culture aplenty.
- Jerome, Arizona
One of Arizona’s Artist Enclaves, Jerome sits near Sedona and its famous art center. But Jerome more than holds its own against its famous neighbor. Once an abandoned ghost town, Jerome found new life in the 1960s when free-thinking Bohemians claimed the boom town and its spectacular desert views.
Undertake the Jerome Artwalk to see the city’s numerous galleries and studios, or paint Arizona’s beautiful vistas for yourself during the Plein Air Art Festival. Jerome stands between the urban attractions of Las Vegas and Phoenix, but borders on the natural beauty of the Jerome State Historic Park.
- Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs has always appealed to the rich and famous, as well as dedicated artists. The mountains and open plains first appealed to Impressionists, but now thousands of artisans, photographers, and sculptors call the desert haven home.
If you prefer to work outdoors, Palm Springs offers perfect weather year round-with endless blue skies and dry, temperate warmth. Visit Palm Canyon Drive each Thursday to participate in VillageFest or explore the Coachella Valley to experience a range of inspiring desert cultures.
- Rockland, Maine
If sun and sand or rolling hills don’t appeal to you, consider Rockland, Maine instead. Originally a city built around shipyards and fisheries, Rockland become a micropolitan area in the 1990s. Since then, it’s burgeoned into an oasis for boutiques, art galleries, and fine dining. Its sights include the city’s 19th century breakwater, as well as the home of the Maine Eastern Railroad.
Enjoy the flavors of the Maine Lobster Festival in August and the masterpieces of the Farnsworth Art Museum year round. The museum features original work by Andrew Wyeth, as well as a host of other New England artists. Find yourself at home among Rockland’s art supply shops, cafes, bookstores, and old fashioned toy stores.
If you’re ready to start fresh and rediscover your artistic voice, consider one of these cultural gems. Their stunning preserved landscapes and abundant cultural opportunities can help you find your muse again.