Visit Rocky Neck Cultural District & Spark Your Creative SideSeptember 06, 2023 / Art and Music, Food and Drink, History/Maritime
Visiting Gloucester often includes trips to the beautiful soft sand beaches that dot the stunning shoreline, stops at the many unique shops in the downtown district, and hours exploring the working harbor where schooners and other majestic vessels can be viewed. There is so much to see, do, and experience in Gloucester.
If you are hoping to nourish your artistic side, look no further than the small peninsula of land off Gloucester’s harbor known as the Rocky Neck Cultural District. This spirited and supportive community is filled with working artists and vibrant galleries that will spark your creative side.
What Is Rocky Neck Cultural District?
Rocky Neck is a hidden gem that sits on a small peninsula in Smith Cove, in the coastal area known as East Gloucester. It is not only the oldest working art colony in Massachusetts, but it is the first designated cultural district in the state and has been a creative home for artists for more than 150 years! If you need inspiration for your creative side, this is a wonderful place to visit.
The area, located off Rocky Neck Avenue, is a mixture of both history and culture. While you walk the streets on Rocky Neck, you will see dozens of working artists including painters of all mediums, potters, textile designers, photographers, and jewelry makers. In many galleries, you may not only see their works but have opportunities to meet with the artists and get a sense of their inspiration and techniques.
In addition to these galleries, Rocky Neck has dining options for many different tastes and quaint accommodations. It is also home to the Rocky Neck Cultural Center, located in a restored and renovated 19th-century church building, and hosts rotating exhibitions, live music, and classes.
Galleries to Explore
As you stroll the streets of Rocky Neck you will want to explore the many art galleries. So many of the artists are inspired by Gloucester’s waterfront beauty, the ocean, and maritime history. In fact, Plein Air artists Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Frank Duveneck, and Childe Hassam lived and worked on Rocky Neck in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They were inspired by the Cape Ann style of American Impressionism.
Larry Dahlmer Studio
The Larry Dahlmer Studio includes oil paintings that honor his life on the island and the heritage of the fishing industry in the Gloucester region.
Hughes Bosca/Side Street Gallery
Located at 17 Rocky Neck Avenue, Hughes Bosca offers handmade jewelry by friends Mary Hughes and Caro Gray Bosca, as well as ceramics, blown glass, and treasures from around the globe.
James B. Hand Fine Art
For the past 33 years, James “Gully” Hand has been a dealer and appraiser of American Art. He not only operates The James B. Hand Fine Art Gallery on Rocky Neck but also services the buying, selling, and brokerage of fine paintings and the provision of fine art appraisal and consulting services to his clients.
The Cove Gallery
Located at 37 Rocky Neck Avenue, the Cove Gallery features a rotating series of group shows by Rocky Neck Art Colony (RNAC) member artists.
Judythe Evans Meagher Gallery
Also located at 37 Rocky Neck Avenue, the Judy the Evans Meagher Gallery offers watercolors that evoke an emotional response, whimsical or serene, through the interplay of light and color. Her work has appeared in the Artist’s Magazine, HOW Magazine, Pleiades Magazine, and the Boston Sunday Globe.
IMAGINE Gallery/Brenda Malloy Studio
Located at 43 Rocky Neck Avenue, this studio has been providing uplifting and colorful works on canvas, paper, wearable textiles, greeting cards, magnets, and more since 2002. To view the gallery and the new website visit IMAGINE Gallery.
Gallery on the Neck
Gallery on the Neck showcases the work of Deb Schradieck. Her original works include watercolor, oil, pen & ink, plus giclée prints and notecards. Visit her site at Debs Art Gallery.
Joe’s Fresh Fish Prints
Joe’s Fresh Fish Prints boasts drawings the old-fashioned way – with ink, paper, and a fish. Read more about his story and see his collection at Fish Impressions.
Stephen LaPierre’s Studio
Located on the second floor of 75 Rocky Neck Avenue, Stephen LaPierre’s Open Studio offers oil paintings, local scenes, Euro, Americana, plus clowns on cell phones!
The Salted Cod Arthouse
Located at 53 Rocky Neck Avenue, this Arthouse showcases the works of 30 Cape Ann artists and craftspeople. It’s also a great place to relax and enjoy a glass of wine or coffee as you get inspired!
Sallie Strand Gallery
Located at 27 Wonson Street, the Sallie Strand Gallery offers contemporary abstract paintings in acrylic, oil, and mixed media.
Jason Burroughs Gallery
Jason Burroughs is a Gloucester native focused on the plein-air of his hometown. He is a former RNAC Goetemann Resident and a graduate of Montserrat College of Art. To see more of his works visit his Instagram @jazzyjburroughs.
Visit 4 Terrace Lane to view by appointment or by chance the works (oils, acrylics, collages, and monoprints on paper) of Ruth Mordecai.
Michalak Fine Art on Madfish Wharf
This contemporary gallery features paintings by Vanessa Michalak and local artists. Michalak uses surprising color palettes while paying homage to the history of plein-air painting through her depictions of various landscapes from Gloucester to Maine.
Dining & Accommodations on Rocky Neck
While most visit Rocky Neck for the art and culture, some also want to enjoy a fine meal and a night’s stay. Some of the dining establishments on Rocky Neck include The Rudder, Sailor Stan’s, The Salted Cod Arthouse, and The Studio.
For overnight visits check out discovergloucester.com/stay. Many of Gloucester’s boutique inns, B&Bs, hotels, and vacation rentals are a quick walk, drive, or Harbor Shuttle boat ride away! Check out Accommodations At Rocky Neck to plan your stay right on the “Neck.”
Once you have visited this small outcropping of culture, history, and inspiration, you will want to come back, again and again, to inspire your creative side and learn more about your craft. For upcoming events and exhibitions, visit discovergloucester.com/events, and get started planning your next visit!