6 Secret Art Ports

 In Cruise Art Auctions at Sea, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Uncategorized

When you think of cities that are known as great art ports, places like New York, Paris, and Rome are some of the typical locations that come to mind. Well, you might be missing out! Some smaller ports boast superb artwork that may not be on your radar yet. Browse the list below so you know what to look for on your next cruise.


Detail of an intricate totem pole carving. Photo credit: Jeremy Keith

Detail of an intricate totem pole carving. Photo credit: Jeremy Keith

1. Ketchikan, Alaska
Not all artwork is meant to hang on walls. At Potlatch Totem Park, a fully recreated Native Alaskan village, is dotted with totem poles, and you can actually watch the craftsman at work – without power tools. Totem Bight State Historical Park has been restoring and reconstructing abandoned totem poles since before Alaska was even a state. You can learn more about these large, wooden monuments at the Totem Heritage Center in addition to the traditional arts and crafts of the local people.


2. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is home to the largest museum of Islamic art in Southeast Asia. The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia‘s collection expands beyond just the Middle East to include Asia. Here you can view the largest scale models of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and the iconic turquoise-tiled domes on the roof. Tucked away in the Bank Negara Malaysia Museum is an extensive collection of Malaysian art. The collection ranges from Hoessein Enas to contemporary artists.


The 45-meter-tall Big Buddha made from marble. Photo credit: enjosmith

The 45-meter-tall Big Buddha made from marble. Photo credit: enjosmith

3. Phuket, Thailand
A little way outside of Phuket, but well worth the trek, is the Big Buddha. The Phuket Big Buddha is a 45-meter-tall marble sculpture. This project was completed entirely on charitable donations and the sculpture still unites people as the site has about 1,000 visitors a day. Not only is the sculpture worth a visit, the view from atop the mountain is breathtaking.


4. Brisbane, Australia
On the coast north of Sydney is Brisbane. Brisbane is about half the size of Sydney, but has just as sophisticated an art scene. The Queensland Art Gallery has over 16,000 works of art from around the world. The museum is attracting attention specifically for its growing collection of Asian and Pacific art and the contemporary collection housed in the Gallery of Modern Art. The Queensland University of Technology has an art gallery, the QUT Art Museum, dedicated to the artworks amassed by local collectors. The collections span from works on paper to three-dimensional works with an emphasis on Australian artists.


5. Bruges (Zeebrugge), Belgium
Bruges was one of the main centers for Early Netherlandish painting, part of the Northern Renaissance. At the Groeninge Museum you can view works by the Flemish masters, also known as the Flemish Primitives, including Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling. The Site Oud Sint-Jan has some exceptional limited edition artworks from Picasso, Mirό and Chagall, as well as creations by Matisse, Degas, and Monet. Visiting the museum is a great way to put your knowledge from the Park West art seminars to the test. You may want to opt for the audio guide as there is limited English signage.


The Imagine Peace Tower being lit to commemorate John Lennon's birthday. Photo credit: McKay Savage

The Imagine Peace Tower shines brightly during the commemoration of John Lennon’s birthday. Photo credit: McKay Savage

6. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is the world’s most northern capital, but the locals don’t let the cold stop them from enjoying gorgeous art indoors and outdoors. The Reykjavik Art Museum has three branches. The Kjarvalsstadir building is dedicated to artwork by contemporary artists and a section displays a body of work from Jόhannes Sveinsson Kjarval, Iceland’s most famous artist who imbued landscapes with life and energy. Situated on Videy Island is the Imagine Peace Tower envisioned by artist Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon. The towering beams of lights only illuminate the sky on selected days so check the calendar before planning a visit.

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