If you’re looking for a quick, charming getaway destination this summer, put Galena on your short list. Galena is a short drive away from major cities in the Midwest, including Chicago and Milwaukee, and offers everything you could ask for in a getaway destination. This historic town, lined with preserved buildings from the 1800’s, is surrounded by stunning natural beauty. Though the town originally thrived as a rich lead mining town and steamboat hub on the Mississippi River, the town’s prosperity didn’t last. In the 1960’s and 70’s, Galena was reborn as a major arts destination in the Midwest. To this day, the arts in Galena remain a critical part of Galena’s thriving economy and culture. To explore this quaint community, book your room at our luxury Bed and Breakfast in Galena today.
Exploring the Arts in Galena
Though it may come as a surprise, Galena is a great destination for lovers of the arts. Here, you’ll find a number of wonderful art galleries and studios, artistic events, hands on activities, and more. While this past week in July brought Galena the incredible Festival of the Performing Arts, August will bring us the Market House Square Art Festival. This art festival is a juried art and fine crafts fair, which features original artwork made by regional artists. Also featured at the event will be live music by regional musicians.
The Jail Hill Inn values the tremendous impact the arts have on the city and those who live and visit here. Recently, Owner/Innkeeper Matthew Carroll was elected to serve on the Board of the Galena Center for the Arts. It’s a tremendous honor, and one we hope continues to impact the arts community in Galena in a positive way for years to come.
A Destination For the Arts
If you miss the Market House Square Art Festival next month, or if you’re looking to do even more artistic exploring while in town, there is plenty more to explore. Try traveling along the region’s Scenic Art Loop. Or, locally, here are some of the extraordinary arts destinations in Galena:
- Galena Center for the Arts provides a dedicated space for arts education, performances, and exhibits, and in the past three years alone has exhibited the works of over 70 regional artists in their gallery. The free gallery is open on Thursday – Sunday afternoons, and they also offer range of performances and workshops.
- Galena Clay Works features the artwork of Kent Henderson, which are all made and fired on the premises.
- Hello Galena! is an artists cooperative that offers a variety of unique gifts and artwork made exclusively by Galena area artists. They now feature the works of over 60 regional artists in their store. During the months between June and October, they also host a monthly featured artists opening, allowing local artists to display their works.
- The Mangelson Images of Nature Gallery features the limited edition photography of world-renowned wildlife and nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen. There are books, fine art posters, art cards, calendars and DVDs available for purchase.
- The Janet Checker Studio offers visitors a chance to see Checker’s original works, which include oils, pastels and small paintings. Stroll by on a summer weekend, and you’re likely to see her painting in her coach house or talking with visitors.
- Pinder Pottery & Gallery is where you’ll find gorgeous, hand-crafted wheel-thrown, stoneware pottery. Pinder has been active in the local art scene since he moved to Galena in 2009, and was responsible for creating the Galena Studio Tours. Stop in, and you’ll often find pottery demonstrations at the gallery.
- Riverbend Art Gallery is owned by photographer Geoffrey Mikol. Though he was born with Down syndrome, Mikol has found a special connection with photography, and produces stunning and technically difficult pieces, especially in moments of elusive light that cameras often miss.
- The Skidmore Art Gallery showcases original artwork from professional artist Mark Skidmore. Guests can enjoy affordable classes, or simply watch the artist paint in his studio at the gallery most days.
- Wander through more than a dozen large, welded metal sculptures, made by artist John Martinson, at the 2-acre West Street Sculpture Park.
- Take a tour of the Woodbine Glass Museum, which displays 4,000 pieces of hand-blown glass representing 200 modern studios.
We’d also like to make special mention of local artist Carl Johnson. He has lived and produced art in Galena since 1970. Many of his works are of local buildings and landscapes. Recently, he finished a stunning illustration of Jail Hill Inn. The illustration is currently on display in the inn, and we will soon be selling reproductions of it! For a fun local connection, Carl’s son, Adam, was the architect for the incredible renovations here at Jail Hill Inn.
However you choose to engage with the arts in Galena, we feel confident you’ll want to return time and again to this beautiful town in Illinois. Come see what all the buzz is about; book your room at our Galena Bed and Breakfast today!