Summer Art Travel Dreams

Many people get the itch to travel during August, an instinct probably left over from the summer breaks of childhood. So where is an artist to go? UAN researched the world’s top art museums, and also checked in with a sampling of Portland artists to see what locales beckoned them.

Popularity Contest

Art-loving travelers often stick to the classics. According to Travel and Leisure, here are the world’s top five most popular art museums.


Musee du Louvre, Paris

The Louvre gets 8.5 million visitors per year. Its collection includes approximately 35,000 pieces, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. 

British Museum

British Museum, London

Seven million objects, 2.5 gallery miles and free admission bring nearly 6 million visitors per year. See the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles.

the metropolitan museum

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

The Met greets well over 5 million visitors annually. This summer you can see exhibits on architectural ornaments in the Near East from 500 to 1000, and another on Japanese art, in addition to regular collections.

Tate Modern

Tate Modern, London

Opened in 2000, the Tate is a relatively new museum. Already it’s become the world’s top modern art museum, with more than 5 million visitors per year. Go for Magritte, Matisse, Dali and other modern crowd pleasers.

National Gallery, London

National Gallery, London

The National Gallery specializes in 13th to 19th century western European paintings, but sometimes has modern installations. The Van Goghs and Constables draw many of the nearly 5 million annual visitors.

What Our Locals Say

Here’s what local artists had to say about their dream art vacations:

April O’Connor is thinking about Chicago. “I've been told that there's quite the arts community there, and I imagine there are days’ worth of galleries and museums to visit. I'd also like to see the skyline and sketch the buildings. It would be a good addition to my cityscapes.”

Amelia Opie wants to go to Los Angeles’ Getty Center to see James Ensor’s Christ's Entry Into Brussels. “Such a fun, goofy painting, with pure blocks of color, and impressionist paint handling. I think Ensor marched to his own groove, in a much more conservative era. There is a lot to admire about that. I would like to visit it and take in all the little details of this painting.”

For traditional, contemporary and bargain hunting reasons, Elizabeth Chadwick picked London. “For the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the Victoria & Albert Museum -- plus they're all free!! And the contemporary arts scene happens on the street, like Banksy.”

Alea Bone is shocked that she still hasn’t been to New York, but is also drawn to places south. “It seems a no-brainer that I need to go there to see the museums, etcetera. But I also have a constant craving to explore the SoCal scene for the lowbrow street culture and Latino influence that I am so inspired by. And someday I will make it to Oaxaca for Day of the Dead!”

Mary Tapogna wants to visit Philadelphia to see The Magic Gardens by Isaiah Zagar. Or maybe New Orleans.

Chris Piuma acted on his dream by traveling to London this summer to celebrate his fortieth birthday. He wanted to see the big retrospectives of Agnes Martin and Joseph Cornell — “and to check out whatever else is going on in the museums and galleries.”

Suzy Lacey Laruffa craves the Southwest. “I have been to New York and it was quite impressive. But I think I would go back to New Mexico, to Santa Fe, stopping along the way to Taos. I really dig the color palettes I saw being used there. The area has room to breathe and is colorful and sunny! It smells much better than New York.” 

Suzy Kitman would visit Spain. “I’ve never been and there’s so much art and architecture to explore.” Her itinerary would include el Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Picasso and Miro in Barcelona, and the Museo de Bellas Artes in Seville-Andaluca.

Joanne Licardo dreams of Ireland’s beauty. “Those landscapes! I want to live there a month and paint. Italy, too!”

Says Vicki Sue Stone, “I would love the old classics. Paris, London and New York.”

Consu Tolosa wants to revisit Japan. “A few years ago I visited and saw all types of amazing art. From a doll exhibit in Harajuku, to all the quiet temple art, to an indoor/outdoor sculpture museum (Hakone Open Air Museum). That was incredible.”

Heide Davis is torn between Japan and Florence, Italy.