Art travel not only stimulates business for locales but also fuels the growth of local artists, injecting creativity and economic vitality into communities. Through the intersection of art and travel, destinations become vibrant cultural hubs, attracting visitors who seek authentic artistic experiences and supporting the flourishing of local artistic talent.

— Barney Davey

Art has become a significant influence on travel choices, with the recent trends report from Embark Beyond suggesting that art, in all its forms, is one of the hottest drivers of tourism this year. As an independent visual artist, you can capitalize on this rising trend and expand your reach. In this post, we will explore how you can leverage the growing popularity of art travel to enhance your career and connect with new audiences. 

Art-Related Travel Experiences in Demand  

Art festivals, art-centric cities, art shopping trips, and visits to artist studios are among the most requested experiences by travelers. Destinations with a vibrant art scene are catching the attention of jet-setters and the culturally inclined. As an artist, you can tap into this demand by offering personalized art travel experiences tailored to individual clients. For example, consider curating art-centric itineraries that provide a deeper understanding of local art and culture. 

Traveling to art festivals allows you to showcase your work to a diverse audience of art enthusiasts and potential buyers. Research popular art festivals and apply to participate as an exhibiting artist. These events provide exposure and create networking opportunities with fellow artists and industry professionals. Establishing connections can lead to collaborations, joint exhibitions, or referrals to other art events. 

Exploring Art-Centric Cities. 

Exploring art-centric cities is another avenue for artists to capitalize on the rise in art travel. Choose destinations known for their vibrant art scenes, such as New York City, Paris, Berlin, or Tokyo. Immerse yourself in the local art community, visit galleries, and attend art events. Engaging with the art scene inspires and helps build relationships with gallery owners, curators, and collectors. These connections may lead to future exhibition opportunities or representation by a gallery. 

In the U.S., these are some of the most popular art-centered destinations:  

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  • New York City, New York: With world-renowned museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City is a cultural hub that attracts art enthusiasts from around the globe. The city’s diverse neighborhoods, such as Chelsea and the Lower East Side, are also known for their thriving art scenes. 
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico: Santa Fe has a rich artistic heritage and is renowned for its vibrant art scene. The city showcases a unique blend of Native American, Hispanic, and contemporary art. Visitors can explore the famed Santa Fe Plaza and art galleries along Canyon Road. 
  • Miami, Florida: Miami’s art scene has flourished in recent years, largely thanks to the annual Art Basel Miami Beach art fair. The city’s Wynwood Arts District, known for its vibrant street art and galleries, has become a must-visit destination for art lovers. Miami is also home to notable museums like the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). 
  • Chicago, Illinois: Chicago boasts a thriving art scene anchored by the iconic Art Institute of Chicago, which houses an extensive collection of artworks from different periods and cultures. The city’s neighborhoods, such as Wicker Park and Pilsen, are known for their diverse galleries, street art, and artist communities. 
  • Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles offers a dynamic art landscape with world-class museums like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and The Broad. The city’s diverse neighborhoods, such as Downtown LA, Arts District, Bergamot Station Arts Center, and Venice Beach, showcase a vibrant mix of contemporary art, street art, and galleries. 
  • Scottsdale, Arizona: Scottsdale is a notable U.S. destination known for its vibrant art scene. The city’s Old Town district is a haven for art enthusiasts, with numerous galleries displaying various artistic styles and mediums. Scottsdale’s art scene is complemented by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and a solid commitment to public art, including sculptures, installations, and murals throughout the city. 

These destinations offer unique and diverse art experiences, from renowned museums and galleries to vibrant street art scenes and cultural events. Exploring these cities allows travelers to immerse themselves in the local art culture, discover emerging artists, and engage with the creative energy that defines these vibrant art scenes. 

Art Travel Directory – Listings Welcome.

This active list was inspired by my artist friend, Mary Martin, suggesting including her hometown (and mine) in the next update. Instead, I’m using it to create an ongoing and updated list of websites for art travel destinations. So, I added Phoenix, my second hometown. Please send your brief 100-word or less description with your art travel website for your free listing in the directory.

The Art Travel Directory

Art Travel Location DescriptionWebsite
St. Louis, MO StLouisArts.org is a website that showcases the vibrant arts and culture scene of St. Louis, Missouri. It features information about theaters, music venues, festivals, museums, galleries, comedy clubs, and more. It also offers tips on planning your visit, exploring the city’s neighborhoods, and discovering hidden gems. Whether you are a local or a tourist, StLouisArts.org is your guide to uncovering the unordinary in St. Louis.StLouisArts.org
Phoenix, AZPhoenix has a vibrant and diverse arts-and-culture scene. You can enjoy performances, exhibitions, and events at various theaters, concert halls, and cultural centers throughout the city. Explore dozens of galleries, venues, and art-related spaces during the monthly First Friday Art Walk. Whether you are into history, music, or contemporary art, Phoenix has something for everyone.Phoenix Arts & Culture | Museums & Theatres in Phoenix (visitphoenix.com)
Asheville, NC
Art took Asheville, NC, from a crumbling city in the 1970s and 80s to a major art destination.  It even revitalized the decrepit abounded warehouse area along the river into The River Arts District. The Woolworth Walk gallery in downtown Asheville is my best-selling gallery beating other tourist destinations such as Nashville and New Smyrna Beach, Florida.Explore Asheville | Things to Do, Events, & Hotels | Asheville, NC’s Official Travel Site
An ongoing and updated directory of websites for art travel destinations.

Art Shopping Trips. 

Art shopping trips are increasingly popular among art enthusiasts looking to acquire unique and meaningful pieces. As an independent artist, consider organizing guided art shopping tours in your city or art-centric destinations. Offer personalized consultations, share your artistic process, and provide insights into the art market. By curating these experiences, you position yourself as an expert and guide, creating a valuable connection with art buyers. 

Visiting artist studios is a highly sought-after experience for art travelers. Open your studio doors to visitors and give them an intimate glimpse into your creative process. Share stories about your artistic journey, demonstrate your techniques, and engage in meaningful conversations. Offering studio visits can create a direct connection between your art and potential buyers, fostering a deeper appreciation for your work. 

Combining Art and Cultural Expressions. 

Art and travel go hand in hand, offering a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures. Combining art with cultural expressions can create enriching experiences for yourself and your audience. For instance, you were incorporating tea ceremonies into a Japan trip or exploring local cuisine as a form of art. This fusion adds depth and authenticity to your art travel experiences, making them more memorable and engaging. 

Integrating cultural elements into your art travel experiences allows you to connect with a broader audience. For example, consider organizing art workshops incorporating local artistic traditions or collaborating with local artisans to create unique art pieces. By infusing cultural expressions into your art, you provide visitors with a more immersive and authentic experience. This approach also opens up opportunities for collaborations and cross-cultural exchanges with fellow artists from different backgrounds. 

Networking and Partnerships. 

Networking is a powerful tool for artists, and art travel provides an ideal environment to connect with fellow artists, gallery owners, collectors, and industry professionals. Attend art events, exhibitions, and conferences in your chosen destinations, actively engage in conversations, and exchange ideas. These connections can lead to collaborations, exhibitions, and other partnership opportunities that expand your artistic reach and help you gain exposure in new markets. 

Create a robust online presence through social media platforms and art-related websites to establish connections before traveling. Engage with the local art community by joining online forums, participating in discussions, and sharing your artistic journey. In addition, you can lay the foundation for future collaborations and international exhibitions by nurturing relationships with artists and art enthusiasts worldwide. 

Contact local art organizations, galleries, and cultural institutions in your desired travel destinations. Express your interest in collaborating or participating in their events. Art organizations often welcome artists who bring a fresh perspective and contribute to the local art scene. Collaborative projects can range from group exhibitions to community art initiatives, offering opportunities to showcase your work to a new audience and establish connections within the art community. 

Showcasing Artwork and Gaining Exposure.  

Find creative ways to showcase your artwork while traveling. Organize pop-up exhibitions, participate in local art shows, or collaborate with galleries to display your pieces. Leverage the power of social media platforms to document your art travel experiences and share them with a broader audience. Engage with art enthusiasts, collectors, and potential buyers online, and use storytelling techniques to connect with your audience on a deeper level. 

When organizing pop-up exhibitions, choose unique and captivating venues that resonate with your art. Seek out non-traditional spaces such as cafes, boutique hotels, or outdoor locations that align with the theme or concept of your work. Engage with the local community by promoting the exhibition through social media, local event listings, and collaborations with local businesses. Such shows create buzz and allow you to interact with visitors and directly receive feedback on your art. 

Participating in local art shows or collaborating with galleries during travels can significantly expand your exposure. Research reputable art shows and galleries in your chosen destination and submit your work for consideration. Exhibiting in new locations exposes your art to a different audience, potentially leading to sales, commissions, or gallery representation. Prepare a professional portfolio and artist statement effectively communicating your artistic vision and style. 

Harness the power of social media platforms to document and share your art travel experiences. Create engaging content that showcases your artwork, the places you visit, and the inspiration behind your creations. Use relevant hashtags and engage with art communities online to expand your reach and attract potential buyers and collaborators. Incorporate storytelling techniques in your posts to create a deeper connection with your audience, sharing the stories behind your art and the experiences you encounter during your art travels. 

Collaborating with Hotels and the Hospitality Industry. 

Hotels and the hospitality industry increasingly recognize the value of art in enhancing guest experiences. Explore opportunities to collaborate with hotels, such as displaying your artwork in their spaces, participating in artist-in-residence programs, or contributing to curated art collections. These collaborations provide exposure, networking opportunities, and potential sales. 

Research hotels that strongly focus on art and contact their management or art directors. Propose displaying your artwork in their public spaces, such as lobbies or hallways, to capture the attention of hotel guests. Collaborating with hotels can lead to exposure to a diverse audience of art enthusiasts, potential buyers, and industry professionals. Participating in artist-in-residence programs allows you to create art within the hotel environment, interact with guests, and potentially sell your work. 

Consider contributing to curated art collections in hotels known for their art programs. Contact hotel art curators or managers and share your portfolio and artist statement. If your artistic style aligns with their vision, they may consider including your artwork in their collections. Being part of a curated collection adds prestige and can increase visibility, as hotels often promote their art collections to guests and the wider public. 

How Visual Artists Can Capitalize on Art-Related Travel. 

Visual artists can capitalize on art-related travel by taking advantage of the following strategies: 

Offer Art Travel Experiences:

Visual artists can curate and offer their art travel experiences to interested individuals or groups. This activity can include organizing art workshops, guided tours to art-centric destinations, or immersive artist retreats. By providing unique and personalized art experiences, artists can attract art enthusiasts seeking an immersive and educational journey. 

Participate in Art Festivals and Events:

Artists can apply to participate in art festivals and events that attract a large audience of art enthusiasts. These platforms provide an opportunity to showcase their artwork, gain exposure, and connect with potential buyers, collectors, and industry professionals. Research and identify relevant festivals and events that align with your artistic style and target audience, and submit applications to secure a spot. 

Collaborate with Galleries and Art Spaces:

Artists can collaborate with galleries and art spaces in different locations to organize exhibitions or showcase their work. Partnering with established galleries allows artists to tap into existing networks and reach a wider audience. Additionally, artists can consider participating in group shows or joint exhibitions with other artists, fostering collaborative opportunities and enhancing their visibility. 

Engage with the Local Art Community:

Artists should try to engage with the local art community when traveling to art-centric destinations. Attend art events, exhibitions, and artist talks, and actively participate in conversations. Networking with fellow artists, gallery owners, curators, and collectors can open doors to collaborations, joint exhibitions, and other partnership opportunities that extend an artist’s reach. 

Utilize Social Media and Online Platforms:

Visual artists should leverage social media platforms and online art communities to share their art travel experiences, document their artistic process, and engage with a global audience. Regularly update social media profiles with compelling visuals, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and stories about their art and travel adventures. Engage with art enthusiasts, collectors, and fellow artists through comments, collaborations, and online exhibitions to expand their network and attract potential buyers. 

Embrace Artist-in-Residence Programs:

Many art organizations, galleries, and residency programs offer artist-in-residence opportunities worldwide. Artists can apply to these programs, which provide dedicated time and space for artistic exploration and experimentation. Artist residencies allow artists to immerse themselves in different cultural environments, connect with local artists, and gain exposure through open studio events or exhibitions.  

Develop an Artistic Brand and Narrative:

Artists should develop a distinct brand and narrative that resonates with their target audience. These steps include creating a cohesive body of work, defining their artistic style, and communicating their unique creative voice. A compelling brand story and consistent online presence help artists stand out, attract art travelers, and build a loyal following. 

These strategies allow visual artists to capitalize on art-related travel, expand their artistic reach, and create meaningful connections within the global art community. Embracing the opportunities provided by art travel allows artists to showcase their work to diverse audiences, gain exposure, and enhance their artistic careers. 

Practical Considerations for Art Travel.  

As an independent artist, it’s crucial to consider practical aspects when planning art travel. Budgeting for travel expenses, finding affordable accommodations, and managing transportation costs are vital considerations. Conduct thorough research to identify art-centric destinations and leverage local resources, such as art guides or tourist information centers, to maximize your art travel experiences. 

Budgeting for art travel requires careful planning and consideration. Estimate your travel expenses, including accommodation, transportation, meals, and art-related costs such as exhibition fees or materials. Look for affordable accommodation options, such as boutique hotels, guesthouses, or artist residencies, that cater to the needs of traveling artists. For example, consider alternative transportation options, such as public transit or shared rides, to minimize costs. 

Research art-centric destinations to ensure you make the most of your art travel experiences. Look for cities or regions known for their vibrant art scenes, cultural events, and artist communities. When planning travel, consider the timing of art festivals, exhibitions, and other art-related events. Contact local art guides or organizations for recommendations on must-visit galleries, museums, and artist studios. Immersing yourself in the local art scene allows a deeper understanding of the artistic landscape and potential networking opportunities. 

Conclusion 

The rise in art travel presents opportunities for independent visual artists. Capitalizing on this trend can expand your artistic reach, connect with new audiences, and enhance your career. Craft personalized art travel experiences, embrace cultural expressions, network with industry professionals, and showcase your artwork effectively. Embrace this evolving landscape and leverage the power of art travel to thrive as an artist in a competitive market. Art travel bodes well for creating balance in your art life and business.

Remember, as an independent artist, your unique perspective and artistic style are your greatest assets. Use them to create authentic and engaging art travel experiences that leave a lasting impact on you and your audience. Embrace the fusion of art and travel, immerse yourself in different cultures, and create meaningful connections with fellow artists and art enthusiasts worldwide. The world is your canvas, and art travel opens up endless possibilities for your artistic journey. 


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  • Barney,
    This article is brilliant! Thank you for sharing it. The Regional Arts Commission in St. Louis has a new campaign, “St. Louis is an Arts Town.” They just launched a new website, www. stlouisarts.org to showcase all St. Louis has to offer. When the time rolls around to update this article, maybe St. Louis’ reputation as an arts town will make it worthy of inclusion in it!

    • Thanks for your comment, kind words, and suggestions. You inspired me to add an Art Travel Directory to the post. I welcome new additions and encourage artists to send information for their local art travel destination websites.

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