Vineyard Haven's Arts Vibrancy Is a Ten

Gallery Opening by L. Gould

(Gallery Opening by L. Gould)

Guest article by Nancy Gardella, Executive Director, Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

Martha’s Vineyard is well known for its summer landscape of busy streets and beaches, but a little less known is the Island’s incredible arts and culture scene. Spring For The Arts begins with The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival in March, builds momentum through the summer, and bursts at the seams with a cornucopia of fabulous festivals and activities for Fall For The Arts.  The calendar is filled with incredible and one-of-a-kind events that only happen on Martha’s Vineyard and span the fields of dance, film, performing arts, literature, theater, poetry, visual arts, culinary arts, and festivals.

Home base for this wealth of activity is the newly recognized micro-city of Vineyard Haven, home to a year-round ferry port and the Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District - a walkable, charming village, with a pristine harbor, and working waterfront. Vineyard Haven is the main village center in the Town of Tisbury – in fact, to the confusion of newcomers, the two names are used interchangeably!   

Arriving in eclectic Vineyard Haven, you’ll disembark immediately onto the mile-long Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District, anchored to the harbor by the lively, one-of-a-kind shops and galleries on Main Street. Film, architecture, design, visual art, music, literary and performing arts infuse Tisbury with creative energy and a unique, palpable vibrancy. 

Highlights of the Cultural District include the historic Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, Hebrew Center, Film Center and Capawock Theater, and Town Hall’s Katharine Cornell Theater whose interior walls include beautifully painted murals depicting the story of the Wampanoag Native American tribe’s sachem Moshup.  Home to one of the last remaining wooden ship building ports in the country, Vineyard Haven features two ship building centers and two Class B tall ships.

Architecture buffs will love the Williams Street Historic District, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. This lovely neighborhood boasts a series of distinctive houses constructed by sea captains, whalers and merchants, between 1830 and 1860, most in the Greek Revival style. 

First Friday gallery walks, pair Island artists with one-of-a-kind retail shops combine and add to Vineyard Haven’s funky and relatable vibe.  Music on the streets, vibrant arts of all kind – performance, visual, design, fashion and so much more, make dancing in the street even more fun than usual.  And when you need a break, grab a lobster roll and climb to a rooftop cupola for 360 degree look at this beautiful harbor village surrounded by Mother Nature and all her splendor.  

Excited yet?  Well get on that ferry or book your flight, and we’ll be happy to show you why Vineyard Haven and all of Martha’s Vineyard is worth the trip! 

* Vineyard Haven, MA, ranks #10 of top arts-vibrant small communities.