Enjoy Arts and Culture in Orleans!

We received our re-designation as an official Cultural District of the Commonwealth in 2018 for another five years

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 43 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, first designated in 2013 and re-designated in 2018, is a cadre of volunteers championing the arts! 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 town of Orleans and are pleased that now our whole community is included in the Orleans Cultural District! The Board of Selectmen in Orleans approved making our district committee an official committee of the Town, and as such we operate according to town committee guidelines.

During the Spring of 2019 we are administering a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to further enhance our visual identity; we seek donations from citizens and other supporters to augment our resources to promote the arts and culture in this community. To donate, contact George Meservey, Town Planner, at the Town’s Office of Planning and Community Development at Town Hall. Thank you!

"Morning Mist," 11 x 14 pastel by Jeanne Rosier Smith.  Courtesy of Gallery 31 Fine Art.

"Morning Mist," 11 x 14 pastel by Jeanne Rosier Smith. Courtesy of Gallery 31 Fine Art.

FINE ART

In Orleans, several fine art galleries adorn the paths of the Village Center and more still are located elsewhere about the town, including at the Craine Room in the Town's Snow Library.

Scroll to the map below a listing of galleries located in the district.

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

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

CULTURE

From theatrical plays to musical performances to literary discussions, you can find a range of town and privately sponsored activities that will expand your world view and enrich your life. The Snow Library, the Academy Playhouse, and the Elements Theater are great places to explore.

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, along with other resources such as the French Cable Museum. The Orleans Conservation Trust preserves land and waterways to ensure our heritage remains.

The Academy Playhouse sits on a hill on Main Street heading toward Nauset Beach and East Orleans. They are planning to expand into an arts and cultural center.   Photo by Rowland Scherman, as are most of the photos on this website.

The Academy Playhouse sits on a hill on Main Street heading toward Nauset Beach and East Orleans. They are planning to expand into an arts and cultural center.

Photo by Rowland Scherman, as are most of the photos on this website.

 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. 

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 Town Hall, the Orleans Chamber of Commerce at 44 Main Street and the Information Booth, and Old Firehouse Community Center next door.

Map of the Orleans Cultural District

Click to enlarge PDF

Click to enlarge PDF

Click to enlarge PDF

Click to enlarge PDF


Orleans Cultural District
Post Office Box 153
Orleans, MA 02653

email: orleansculturaldistrict@comcast.net