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One of the leading art museums of the American South, the North Carolina Museum of Art opened in 1956 as the first in the nation established with public state funds. More than 40 galleries here are home to a permanent collection of paintings, artifacts, and sculptures spanning the history of art from antiquity to the present day. Visitors can see paintings of the European Renaissance, Egyptian funerary artifacts, and contemporary international works of art, among others. An amphitheater hosts outdoor performances, and a museum park features more than a dozen major site-specific works surrounded by forests and fields.
The Nasher Museum is dedicated to presenting contemporary art from around the world, and showcasing art made by historically underrepresented groups. Founded in 2005 on the campus of Duke University, the museum boasts a permanent collection of more than 10,000 works, with strong holdings in medieval, pre-Colombian, classical, and modern and international contemporary art. Free guided tours are made available to groups of ten or less two days a week.
The Contemporary Art Museum is a temple to contemporary art and design housed in a re-purposed warehouse in downtown Raleigh. The museum has no permanent collection of its own, but strives to showcase the work of emerging artists and designers with new perspectives and in fresh contexts. In addition to cutting-edge exhibitions, the museum offers middle and high school students educational and creative programs, including panels, docent partnerships, and summer access to studio space. Weekly guided tours of current exhibitions are included with general admission.
This contemporary and fine art gallery in the heart of Raleigh’s warehouse district hosts juried art shows, monthly exhibitions by regional artists, and more than 30 resident artists working in 12 studios. The gallery is a great place to get a first-hand look at the local art community. Raleigh residents are encouraged to participate in juries, local artists teach workshops and master classes, and the gallery stays open late during weekend art walk events. A gift shop offers smaller works for sale made by resident artists.
Located at City Market in downtown Raleigh, Artspace is a visual art center dedicated to engaging the local community in visual arts with hands on, interactive education and exhibits. The center provides studio space, exhibits, and a rich program of classes, workshops, lectures, and community events. More than 40 artists work in the space’s open studios. Admission to the center and exhibits is free, while classes require fees and registration.