Art Cities: The Most Creative Places on Earth

Some may say that great art is merely the work of an individual. In reality, great art has emerged when communities come together through generations.

Around the world, there are hundreds of towns and cities that share a communal love for producing great artwork.

Here is a rundown of ten of the most creative places you’ll find on Earth.

1) Bangkok

The capital of Thailand is rapidly emerging as a hub for radical art in Asia. A divided society, caught between tradition and innovation, is the backdrop for a host of edgy and exciting creatives.

Institutions like the VER Project and the Bangkok CityCity Gallery have hosted boundary-pushing exhibitions. Meanwhile, graffiti artists like Alex Face have crafted incredible works beyond the gallery.

2) São Paulo

To some, Sao Paulo is the art capital of South America. Whether you’re looking for street-smart graffiti or esteemed high art, Brazil’s biggest city has it all. You can find the best street art in neighbourhoods like Cambuci and Vila Madalena, home to works from local legends like Otávio and Gustavo Pandolfo.

Meanwhile, centers like Choque Cultural and the Museu de Arte Moderna show off some of the most exemplary Paulistano art.

3) Belgrade

Serbia has a complex art history, and Belgrade is at the frontier of the country’s next chapter. Local art schools have survived through the Balkan Wars, introducing creatives like Nina Ivanovic and Ivan Grubanov to the scene.

The October Salon biennale draws in esteemed talent like Yoko Ono from around the world. If you miss that, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, home to retrospectives from local heroes like Marina Abramovic.

4) Dakar 

Dakar might not be your first pick for an “art city”, yet the West African capital has a point to prove. In 1989 the city hosted Africa’s first art biennial, Dak’Art, which has showcased ingenious art for over 30 years.

It’s a month-long celebration of vibrant works from across the city, country and continent. That said, there is plenty to see all year round. Striking street art lines the roads, while spaces such as IFAN Museum and Loman Art Gallery host the best Senegalese artists.

Dakar is the unexpected centre for vibrant art in West Africa

5) Florence

Famed for its role in the Renaissance, the small Italian city is still host to revolutionary art and aritsts. The world renowned Uffizi gallery is home to the Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, while Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture of David can been seen at the Galleria dell’Accademia.

Lesser-known galleries like the Arts Inn and Firenzeart Gallery are host to hidden gems in the Tuscan capital.

6) Melbourne

Melbourne is an unassuming home of incredible art in Australia. It has the country’s oldest public art museum, along with the Gertrude Contemporary and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.

Venture beyond the gallery for some of the city’s greatest works, like Simon Perry’s Public Purse, or Birrarung Marr park, home to Deborah Halpern’s wondrous Angel sculpture. If you’re searching for great art in Australasia, don’t miss out on Melbourne. 

7) Mexico City

The capital of Mexico is unlike anywhere on Earth. It was recently named the World Design Capital by the World Design Organization. Why? Probably due to the city’s dynamic public architecture, which has been the backdrop for a new generation of visual artists.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera have defined the country’s art history. These days, creatives like Damián Ortega and Minerva Cuevas are the ones making waves.

8) Barcelona 

The Catalan capital doesn’t need much of an introduction. This city is bursting with creative minds in richly artistic spaces. Sure, Parc Güell and Sagrada Família are key attractions, but you can also find value in street galleries like Fundació Antoni Tàpies and Museu Frederic Marès.

A bohemian energy runs through the landscape here, with Gothic architecture alongside spaces that host festivals such as Sónar and Festa de Sant Roc.

9) Sharjah

Looking over the Persian Gulf, the city of Sharjah is shining as an art hub in the United Arab Emirates. Its ruling sheikh has a love of the arts, and has even curated exhibitions herself.

The Islamic Arts Festival and Sharjah Biennial are just two key events on the city’s art calendar, and local art is championed by the Sharjah Art Foundation. After a day of sight-seeing, grab a seat and relax at urban areas like Muweilah, where all the city’s cool creatives hang out.

10) Lagos

Lagos boasts a spirited cultural scene, making it a hot destination in the African art world. The city’s calendar is stacked with events like the revered LagosPhoto Festival and the National Competition.

Get to know local artists like Victor Ehikhamenor and Peju Alatise, with challenging work on display at spaces like the Omenka Gallery. If you want to explore Lagos’ art scene before it booms, now’s your chance.

Posted in Buzz and tagged , , , , , , , , , .