Orleans is one of just 32 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 Common-wealth). 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, a non-profit or-ganization 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, officiated both a public hearing and town reso-lution, and created a third party committed to administer the district, essential factors in seeking designation.

In Orleans, eight fine art galleries adorn the paths of the Village Center and more still are located elsewhere in town. Although the official designation is the Orleans Village Center Cultural Dis-trict where Route 6A meets Main Street which meets Route 28, the whole town embraces the arts and celebrates literary, performing, and public art while showcasing our coastal heritage. Whether you are in Orleans year round, seasonally, or simply for a visit, your experience is sure
to be enriched by this community's natural beauty and the abundance of cultural assets and op-portunities.

Over forty arts and culture organizations/activities thrive in Orleans; many are featured on our website: orleansculturaldistrict.org. Information on arts and culture, from artist studio tours to outdoor concerts, poetry readings, and theatrical performances is listed in the community events calendar at orleanscapecod.org. The Orleans Cultural Council, one of 329 across Massachusetts, works with volunteers within the district in support of festivals, exhibitions, and awarding of grants to artists. This community of artists and lovers of arts and culture enhance this rich, wel-coming place to engage in and celebrate the imaginative side of life.

Orleans embraces its heritage and enjoys a rich sense of its past. Visitors and locals alike are en-couraged to saunter pathways to discover hidden gems of the community, from public art to na-ture walks and seaside vistas. The Whale of Orleans, created in 2015 by Orleans’ metal sculptor Syd Ahlstrom, represents the culmination of two years of a Creative Placemaking Project di-rected by the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the Orleans Cultural Council. Collaborating with the Orleans Cultural District and the Orleans and Cape Cod Chambers of Commerce and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, this project sparked the formation of the Orleans Public Art Initiative which is exploring more pathways to public sculpture in the Village Center.

With the Cape Cod Bike Trail bisecting Main Street at Depot Square, Orleans also welcomes walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. The Orleans Chamber of Commerce manages information cen-ters on Eldredge Parkway and on Main Street. As the Orleans Village Center Cultural District develops, we plan to distribute a walkable map of the district. Be sure to share your suggestions with us by sending an email to orleansculturaldistrict@com-cast.net.