Enjoy Arts and Culture in Orleans!

With our marine heritage and 57 miles of coastline at the top of the elbow of Cape Cod in eastern Massachusetts, Orleans has a year-round population of just over 5800. Orleans is one of just 34 Massachusetts communities to be officially designated a cultural district by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (out of a total of 312 towns and 39 cities in the Commonwealth). Aimed at strengthening a sense of place while stimulating economic activity, improving the experiences of visitors, and creating a higher quality of life, by definition a cultural district is a walkable part of town with a high density of arts and cultural opportunities. 

The Orleans Cultural District, in step with the Orleans Community Partnership Inc., a non-profit organization forging private/public collaborations by and for the residents of Orleans, partner to enhance arts and culture activities here. The visionary cultural district initiators garnered support from local groups, identified a walkable district in the Village Center, officiated both a public hearing and town resolution, and created a third party committed to administer the district, essential factors in seeking designation. With many cultural activities happening routinely outside the Village Center proper we have embraced the whole town of Orleans to be included in the Orleans Cultural District.

"Magic in the Shadows," 12 x 12 pastel by Jeanne Rosier Smith. Courtesy of Gallery 31 Fine Art.

"Magic in the Shadows," 12 x 12 pastel by Jeanne Rosier Smith. Courtesy of Gallery 31 Fine Art.

FINE ART

In Orleans, eight fine art galleries adorn the paths of the Village Center and more still are located elsewhere about the town, including at the Snow Library.

Live music is a mainstay in Orleans! Photo courtesy of Rowland Scherman

Live music is a mainstay in Orleans!
Photo courtesy of Rowland Scherman

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

From theatrical plays and musical performances, you can find a range of town sponsored activities that will expand your world view and enrich your life.

Orleans Historical Society and Museum Main Street and River Road on the way to Nauset

Orleans Historical Society and Museum
Main Street and River Road on the way to Nauset

OUR HERITAGE

If you are interested in the rich history of our maritime community, the Orleans Historical Society is among the resources available for you to explore.

Photo by Rowland Scherman, as are most of the photos on this website.  The Rowland Scherman Photographic Archives are located at ARTWORKS! 

Photo by Rowland Scherman, as are most of the photos on this website.  The Rowland Scherman Photographic Archives are located at ARTWORKS! 


 Mission of the Orleans Cultural District

The Orleans Cultural District promotes fine arts and culture and fosters the endeavors of artists and arts supporters through enhanced opportunity and innovative collaboration, embracing an environment supportive to the creative economy. 

The District: Resources & Opportunities

 

Art Galleries, Performing and Literary Arts, Maritime Heritage, Historical Sites and more are just some of the wonderful resources available in this seaside village.  The Orleans Village Center Cultural District is a walkable area with quaint shops and galleries, restaurants and museums, boat landings and vistas to stimulate and delight one's senses.  

In the "Mapping It" section which follows you will find several categories highlighting many of the resources and opportunities available.

Take a stroll down Main Street to the Snow Library where you will find not only access to the library's own volumes, but also the CLAMS system of borrowing books across the Cape. Children's programs, art exhibits, musical events, and more are part of their schedule of offerings, along with courses in Lifelong Learning. Named for the Snow Family which originally resided in the Orleans Waterfront Inn on the Town Cove by the Windmill, the Snow Library trumps the opportunities available for residents and visitors alike.  

I love visiting the Snow Library in Orleans. I always find something unexpected, perhaps a talk
by an artist in the Marion Craine Room, or a free concert outdoors
on the lawn by the Village Green. There's something for everyone at the Snow Library."  
                                                                                                                                                   —  Adam Thomas

OTHER WEBSITE LINKS!

Town of Orleans

Orleans Chamber of Commerce

 

Orleans Historic Markers

 

Orleans Historical Society

To link to a myriad of resources available in Orleans, visit the Town of Orleans website at www.town.orleans.ma.us and the website of the Orleans Chamber of Commerce at www.orleanscapecod. org.  To learn more about Orleans art galleries, click here.

The Orleans Cultural Council is appointed by the Board of Selectmen in Orleans to administer grant funds from the Massachusetts Cultural Council through their local cultural councils initiative.

The following is excerpted from the Massachusetts Cultural Council website:

The Local Cultural Council (LCC) Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences annually.

The program promotes the availability of rich cultural experiences for every Massachusetts citizen.

Administered by 2,400 municipally appointed volunteers, the LCC network consists of 329 councils serving all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. Each year, local councils award more than $3 million in grants to more than 5,000 cultural programs statewide. These include school field trips, afterschool programs, concerts, festivals, lectures, theater, dance, music, and film. LCC projects take place in schools, community centers, libraries, elder care facilities, town halls, parks, and wherever communities come together.

Individuals, schools, and cultural organizations are eligible to apply for project support from their local council. Funding for cultural field trips is also available. Applicants should contact their LCC before completing an application. Exemplary LCC projects are eligible to be further recognized by the Gold Star Program.

Please note: grants from LCCs are reimbursement-based. (The applicant expends their own money, and if approved for a grant, then submits paperwork for reimbursement.) 

The Orleans Cultural Council maintains a mailbox at the Orleans Town Hall.

To help locals and visitors get around our quaint, historic village, the Orleans Cultural District put together a Walking Map of the Orleans Village Center with directory arrows for outlying areas, including Skaket Beach to the north on Cape Cod Bay and Nauset Beach to the east on the Atlantic Ocean, and many points of interest in between. The map is geared toward cultural interests, listing Art Galleries; Arts and Crafts, Photography and Studios; Green Space and Recreation — places to visit with a packed lunch to relax and take in the beautiful vistas here; Historic Markers, Sites and Museums; Literary Arts;  Performing Arts;  Public Sculptures and Murals; and Town Resources such as Town Hall, the Snow Library, the Old Firehouse Community Center, and more.

Printed copies of the map are available around town, including at the Chamber of Commerce on Main Street and the Old Firehouse next door.

Map of the Orleans Cultural District

Click to enlarge PDF

Click to enlarge PDF

Click to enlarge PDF

Click to enlarge PDF

“It’s All In Orleans!”
Orleans Cultural District / Orleans Community Partnership, Inc.
Post Office Box 153
Orleans, MA 02653

The Orleans Community Partnership and The Orleans Cultural District    

email: orleanscommunitypartnership@gmail.com