10 Midwestern Contemporary Art Galleries To Inspire Your Creative Soul

 In Culture, Guide

A city’s great art isn’t always housed in its namesake museum. In fact, contemporary art tends to reside in smaller boutique galleries, waiting for someone to discover it and soak it all in.

Below, we’ve collected ten galleries across the Midwest that your inner art critic will absolutely relish. You might not find them all in the tourist guides, but they’re sure to spark your creativity and inspiration.

1/ Miller Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio
Situated on Hyde Park Square, Miller Gallery is one of Cincinnati’s oldest art galleries. It opened in 1960 in a basement; now, however, the gallery is home to the works of 60 artists to whom the owners are fiercely loyal. The art includeseverything from internationally renowned painters to photographers to local artists.

2/ Julia Martin Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee
Owned by the active artist of the same name, this gallery features quite a lot of abstract, conceptual paintings and sculptures.

3/ Modern Arts Midtown, Omaha, Nebraska
Modern Arts Midtown is one of Nebraska’s premiere contemporary art galleries, dedicated to showcasing local work alongside their permanent collection of contemporary American and international art.


Photo courtesy of Modern Arts Midtown

4/ Gallery Forty-Two, Indianapolis, Indiana
Gallery Forty-Two is a 3,000-square-foot space located inside Indianapolis’s oldest surviving commercial space, and it is actually comprised of two separate galleries. The lower floor strikes a harmonious chord between the classical and the modern with the broad selection of modern and contemporary art housed within the historically renovated space, while the second floor features bright, contemporary art that focuses on sports and entertainment.

5/ Tangent Gallery, Detroit, Michigan
This gallery isn’t about champagne-soaked exhibition openings. Tangent Gallery recently held an event focused on cars, roller skates, and mayhem. A local roller derby team blitzed by “road art” and brawls tussled while a DJ pumped tunes.

6/ The Grand Hand Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Ann Ruhr Pifer had a specific goal when she opened the Grand Hand Gallery in 2004: showcase and champion local art that truly reflected the artists’ processes and efforts. As a result, the gallery features primarily fine craft or functional art.

7/ Zeitgeist, Nashville, Tennessee
Since 1994, Zeitgeist has provided both new and established artists the safe space to experiment with their craft. It also offers Indetermanacies, a series of events where local offbeat musicians give live performances. Writers, critics and philosophers are encouraged to join the events in the spirit of discussion.


Photo courtesy of Zeitgeist

8/ Paul Paletti Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky
This gallery features historical and contemporary photographs that display, as the gallery’s mission states, “a superlative degree of technical virtuosity along with a distinctive vision.” Paul Paletti Gallery celebrates its fifteenth birthday in 2016.

9/ Kaviar Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky
There aren’t a lot of fine art galleries with adjoining blacksmith forges, but Craig Kaviar’s gallery is filling that niche. Kaviar features a bit of his own work alongside the paintings, sculptures, prints and fine craft of more than 100 other professional artists.

10/ PLUG Projects, Kansas City, Missouri
Established by six local artists in 2011, PLUG seeks to encourage conversation through what they call “challenging” art. It hosts critique nights between exhibitions wherein a small panel of artists and art critics—including the public—are invited to take part in a dialogue with local artists about their work.


Featured photo courtesy of Gallery Forty-Two.

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