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7 Ways to Experience the Arts


With its isolated nature dominated by the rocky cliffs of the Niagara escarpment, thick woodlands and wide rolling hills, all walks of life are attracted to the beauty of Door County. It is no surprise, then, that along with the county’s abundance of natural beauty, a rich history of art has developed into what it is today. From a packed live music scene to secluded spots in the forest there is no end to the experiences Door County can provide.

Here are seven ways to dive in:

1. Go on a Gallery Crawl

Because of the number of artists in the county, there are dozens of alluring galleries that dot the landscape, many of which feature local pieces of work. As you browse the county you will find a unique combination of a rustic sculpture gardens pottery, paintings, jewelry, glasswork, and more. There are so many more wonderful galleries to see in Door County that it could take weeks to discover them all.

A woman browses an outdoor sculpture gallery.

2. Sign Up for a Class or Workshop

If you find yourself inspired by any of the art in the galleries and wanting to hone your own artistic skills, there are several schools that can assist you with classes. Schools like the Clearing Folk School, Write On! Door County, Peninsula School of Art, and Sievers School of Fiber Arts offer classes for any type of artistic pursuit. With an emphasis on nature and influence from famous writers, architects, and weavers, the schools seek to inspire their students to create and appreciate art.

Log cabins in the woods at The Clearing.

3. Use Nature as Your Muse

The natural beauty of Door County has long inspired artists to write, draw, shoot photography, or just relax and allow creativity to blossom. As many galleries that the county holds, there seems to be a park or green space to match. With five state parks and dozens of county parks and land trusts, there is a guarantee that wherever you are in the county, there is a beautiful park nearby. Hike through the wilderness of Newport State Park or bike the winding trails of Peninsula State Park to find inspiration to finish that book or start that painting.

4. Soak in the Sound

After a long day spent under the warm sun, taking in the amazing Door County landscape, you may find yourself wanting to relax at a bar and take in some live music. The many bar and pub establishments of the peninsula frequently offer live music performances from local bands and touring artists. And, if you're a musician yourself there are even a few bars that host open-mic-nights and encourage people from the crowd to contribute. 

Check our live music calendar to see the variety of options and see all of our performing arts venues here.

A rock band plays an outdoor show.

5. Get Theatrical

Tucked away in the woods, both Northern Sky and Peninsula Players theaters host summer plays from satirical to romantic. Or see a classic Shakespeare performance at Door Shakespeare, held outdoors in a garden setting. Third Avenue Playhouse in downtown Sturgeon Bay is an intimate theater with unique plays and talented casts. With shows running throughout the whole summer, there is certainly a play for anyone to enjoy.

Visitors to an outdoor theater buy snacks and drinks.

6. Attend an Art Fair

Art and craft venues are common in the county throughout the year with events like the Fine Art Fair in Sturgeon Bay (May 25-26) and the Door County Festival of Fine Arts in Sister Bay (August 10) and many more offering a wide variety of handcrafted art fit for anyone’s taste. Art fairs are also a great opportunity to get to know the featured artists and learn the story behind their works.

A man paints the marina and lake scene in front of him.

7. Make Your Own Art

You don't have to be a professional or practicing artist to create a unique piece of art. There are workshops and self-guided projects on offer at many creative craft studios across the peninsula, including Stone Silo Studios, Reclaimed Workshop, Hands On Art Studio, and Clink!.

Friends make their own art in a modern art studio.

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