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Arts & Culture in Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach magically combines the inspiring beauty of the Oregon Coast with a picture-perfect village by the sea and unmatched ocean view lodging. Named one of America’s 100 Best Art Towns, Cannon Beach is a delight to explore. You’ll discover sensational shopping, art galleries, and fine dining. Watch live glassblowing, attend a live theater performance or browse the galleries. Most of the town is easily walkable. The architecture, public art, meandering pathways, and courtyards spilling over with flowers all add to the artistic beach town experience. You can also rub elbows with history and take in the views enjoyed by Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery 200 years ago when Captain William Clark wrote about the inspiring beauty of the coastline on the explorers’ historic voyage. Visitors continue to be captivated by those same views today.

Consider immersing yourself in these cultural opportunities on your visit:

Art Galleries & Great Shopping: Shoppers and art lovers will be thrilled to explore Cannon Beach. There are delightful discoveries in the art galleries, specialty stores, and boutiques around town. You’ll find original art, fine apparel, artisan-made jewelry, unique home décor, delicious confections, and endless other surprises. Tax-free shopping makes your visit the perfect time to splurge. Galleries offer original works by some of the most successful local, regional ­and nationally-known artists. You’re sure to find the ideal new focal point for your home, office, or garden that you will treasure forever. Many shops and galleries are located within a few short blocks in downtown Cannon Beach, but just a few blocks to the south, the Midtown area of Cannon Beach is home to more great shopping.

Glassblowing:  Watch glassblowers transform glowing molten glass into beautiful works of art at Icefire Glassworks, a working glassblowing studio in Midtown Cannon Beach.

Lewis & Clark Expedition History: Follow in the footsteps of America’s most famous explorers, gaze at the views they described and imagine the culture they discovered. Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery members visited Cannon Beach in January 1806 on their historic expedition. Captain William Clark led a party of the explorers, including their Indian guide Sacagawea, to investigate reports that a whale had washed ashore. They found the whale south of the creek Clark named “Ecola,” the native term for "whale." In his journal, Clark described a small village of several wood houses of native Tillamook people who lived on both sides of the creek. A whale sculpture at Whale Park in the north end of downtown commemorates the explorer’s visit. On the north side of Ecola Creek, interpretive signs tell the story of the historic expedition. The Tillamook Head Trail in Ecola State Park follows the route the explorers used to reach Cannon Beach.

Live Theater: Watch a live performance at Coaster Theatre, which presents a year-round schedule of live community theater performances in an ­intimate setting. Coaster Theatre is located downtown in a historic building that once housed the community’s roller skating rink.

Arts Festivals: Meet the artists and see their latest works in the galleries during Cannon Beach art festivals. Festivals include Spring Unveiling in early May, June’s Plein Air & More, and November’s Stormy Weather Arts Festival. For art of another sort, the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest each June is a more than 50-year-old tradition featuring dozens of large sculptures by master builders, groups, and works by families and kids looking for creative fun.

Literary Arts: Get Lit at the Beach: A Gathering for Readers is a three-day event in April featuring best-selling authors, receptions, talks, signings, a question and answer session, and a keynote speaker dinner. The Cannon Beach Library and Cannon Beach Book Company also host author events.

Cannon Beach Library: The Cannon Beach Library features an inviting place to discover new books, read current newspapers, check email, meet with friends, browse an ongoing book sale room, and, if you are a visitor, get information about the area. 

Cannon Beach History Center: The Cannon Beach History Center features unique artifacts, artwork, photographs, audio presentations, and hands-on displays related to local history. Admission is free.

Tour Classic Cottages: Step back to an earlier era and visit several historic cottages in Cannon Beach each September when the Cannon Beach History Center presents its annual Cottage Tour.

Arts Programs: The Cannon Beach Arts Association is a non-profit organization devoted to enhancing arts in the region. It operates Cannon Beach Gallery in Midtown, focusing on original artwork by local and regional artists with exhibits that change monthly. The CBAA also hosts an annual Summer Art Camp the last week in July and other special events. Tolovana Arts Colony is a non-profit arts association that provides year-round arts education. Faculty includes working artists experienced in their field and emerging artists seeking to share their art.

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