Havens for artists and writers
June 15, 2013 3:57 AM   Subscribe

I was just reading about poet Mary Oliver, who lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts. I've also heard of arts communities in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What are some other small-ish towns that have strong communities of artists and writers (especially writers!)?

I'm looking for communities of artists and writers. Not big cities like San Francisco or New York (or even Austin or Portland), but smaller towns that would seem a bit unlikely but have thriving communities of artists and writers. A couple of examples I've found are Santa Fe, New Mexico and Provincetown, Massachusetts. What other towns have artist residencies, a thriving arts community and a reputation as being a haven of artists and writers? (Especially writers and poets!)

- Doesn't have to be in the United States. Isn't there a place in Mexico where a lot of expat writers hang out?
- Would be better not to be a "scene-y" place, but one where people go to work and live, not show off how hip they are.

Thank you!
posted by 3491again to Society & Culture (30 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Homer, Alaska, population 5000. Can't speak to writers, specifically, but it is a known haven for artists and creative types.
posted by griselda at 4:22 AM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ithaca, NY
posted by january at 4:53 AM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bisbee Arizona
posted by InkaLomax at 4:55 AM on June 15, 2013

St Ives, in Cornwall, UK has a history of attracting artists and, to a lesser extent, writers. It is a small-ish coastal town but to this day has a thriving arts scene.
posted by schmoo at 4:58 AM on June 15, 2013

Marfa, Texas (though that is a little scene-y? more for visitors than residents, from what I hear)

Joshua Tree (the town, not the park)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 6:03 AM on June 15, 2013

Northampton, MA and the surrounding area has become home to a serious concentration of YA authors and comics artists, particularly webcomics.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:17 AM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was going to say Northampton/Amherst, MA.

There are a surprising number of writers in the Hudson Valley area of NY, where I live, but they're a bit spread out between Beacon, Woodstock, and New Paltz. It seems most come here for the quality of life and proximity to NYC--not because it's a super hip place--and end up sticking around to raise families and such.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:20 AM on June 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Laguna Beach, CA
Palm Desert, CA--it's similar to santa fe in some ways.
posted by wildflower at 6:26 AM on June 15, 2013

Ashville, NC and (somewhat unsurprisingly) Woodstock, NY. And seconding January in saying Ithaca.
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 6:31 AM on June 15, 2013

Yellow Springs, OH
Paducah, KY
Great Barrington, MA
Door County, WI
Berea, KY
posted by carmicha at 6:51 AM on June 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Key West.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 7:01 AM on June 15, 2013

Iowa City, Iowa.
posted by bricoleur at 7:33 AM on June 15, 2013

Tubac, Arizona
posted by jgirl at 7:52 AM on June 15, 2013

Seconding Yellow Springs and Berea, and adding Nashville, Indiana (very close to Bloomington, in fact), Madison, Wisconsin and Spring Green, Wisconsin.
posted by Rykey at 8:01 AM on June 15, 2013

Taos, NM.....most of the galleries are also the artists' homes.
posted by brujita at 8:31 AM on June 15, 2013

Sorry on phone.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:37 AM on June 15, 2013

Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada (and the islands in the Salish Sea generally). The place in Mexico you're thinking about is probably San Miguel de Allende.
posted by Emanuel at 8:53 AM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Gloucester, MA
posted by sammyo at 9:19 AM on June 15, 2013

And if you really want to get away, Monhegan Island, ME
posted by sammyo at 9:21 AM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

My parents live in Port Townsend, Washington and I have to say the amount of arts in that town is evident just walking around it. (I'm not sure about writers, but my stepdad does go to the open mike night every week, so that's at least somewhat present.) The strong arts community is part of why they moved there and they've been very happy with it.
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:15 AM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Copper Canyon Press is in Port Townshend, so, yeah, writers.
posted by dersins at 10:26 AM on June 15, 2013

Sun Valley, Idaho.
posted by clavicle at 10:51 AM on June 15, 2013

The town of Spring Green, WI. Teeny, tiny town (1,700 or so people). Lots of visual artists in the area, plus a thriving theatre community. Frank Lloyd Wright school is near there. Don't know about writers, but I'm one and I'd love to live there. About an hour's drive from Madison or the Dells. A friend of mine lived in Spring Green for a while and loved it.
posted by tllaya at 10:53 AM on June 15, 2013

I live in Port Townsend and can confirm Margalo Epps' comments. There's even a sort of writer's workshop storefront.

Who are your folks Margalo? There's actually 3 different open mics each week.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:33 AM on June 15, 2013

By the way dersins, Pete has an "h", we do not.

posted by humboldt32 at 11:35 AM on June 15, 2013

Ucross, Wyoming.
posted by incountrysleep at 6:45 PM on June 15, 2013

Buffalo, NY. Bisbee, AZ.
posted by Riverine at 7:37 PM on June 15, 2013

Madrid, NM
posted by FlamingBore at 3:23 AM on June 16, 2013

Thirding Yellow Springs, OH!
posted by melancholyplay at 9:10 PM on June 16, 2013

Grand Marais, Minnesota.
posted by librarylis at 10:57 PM on June 16, 2013

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