In North Carolina's Research Triangle Region, it's easy to plan a great getaway around great artworks and visual art experiences. Whether you choose to rest overnight in Chapel Hill/Orange County, Durham, Raleigh/Wake County or Smithfield/Johnston County, there's a surrounding region that's filled with things for arts-lovers to see and do.

Most interested in the major art museums? There are six!

  • Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill with 15,000 objects is known for its strength in European painting and sculpture but is building its 20th-century and contemporary collections. It also has the state's most significant collection of Asian art.
  • Durham's Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University has 65,000-sq.-ft. for exhibits from classical to contemporary, including special shows each year. The North Carolina Central University Art Museum, also in Durham, exhibits 19th- and 20th-century African-American art.
  • The N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh now showcases the largest Rodin collection east of Los Angeles and south of Philadelphia, among its many other collections and exhibits. The Gregg Museum of Art & Design at N.C. State University presents a series of ever-changing exhibitions.
  • The newcomer to the Triangle 's museum scene is downtown Raleigh's Contemporary Art Museum, which opened in April 2011.

But, there are also scores of art galleries that display or sell fine artwork and dozens of art studios where you can watch local artists at work.

In Smithfield/Johnston County for instance, visit the Frank Creech Art Gallery at the Johnston Community College campus. In addition several festivals like the Clayton Visual Arts shows held in the lobby of The Clayton Center showcase local artists and their talents all year round.

Add to all of this a Triangle-wide commitment to accessible public art and statuary, which you will find around almost every corner in places like downtown Chapel Hill, downtown Durham and Cary.

Nearly every community in the region celebrates the visual arts with a signature annual event, and depending when you visit, you're welcome to join in! Examples include: Artsplosure, the Raleigh Arts Festival (May), the Durham Arts Counci's CenterFest (September) and Chapel Hill's Festifall (October).

Plan your Triangle arts getaway using official visitor information, including a detailed calendar of events, from the region's four destinations:

Chapel Hill/Orange County | Durham County
Johnston County | Wake County

visual arts sampler

Museums and galleries are always great to see, but what’s more fun than interacting with local artists themselves? Places like Frank Street Arts Collective in Chapel Hill, Golden Belt Artist Studios in Durham and Artspace in Raleigh want you to do just that. These collections of art studios/galleries under one roof are open daily (or almost daily). Also, most communities in the Research Triangle Region hold a monthly art walk through their local artists’ studios, usually on the First, Second, Third or Final Fridays; see Upcoming Events to find out when and where.

Map of the Triangle