The fiber arts hanging in The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Ky., (above) have more in common with the masterpieces in the Guggenheim than they do bedspreads. Paducah’s 50-block downtown area — its entirety listed on the National Register of Historic Places — is home to a $40 million performing arts center with a symphony that makes larger cities envious.
The Market House Theatre converts a historic open-air market into a thriving venue with stage shows. The LowerTown Arts District has changed a Victorian neighborhood into a modern artists’ colony. So far, 50 artists call it home. Paducah may be the perfect place for an arts weekend.
Walmart started in rural Arkansas, but because the world’s largest retailer operates around the globe, Bentonville — Walmart’s tiny hometown — has become quite a sophisticated spot. Think Mayberry (of The Andy Griffith Show), if it was located in France, with great food and lodging.
Don’t miss Tusk & Trotter, home of “fork art,” and check into the 21C, a hotel/modern art museum. The first new major American museum in 50 years, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art displays works ranging from Gilbert Stuart’s famous portrait of George Washington to an outdoor sculpture by the late graffiti artist Keith Haring and beyond.
In addition, the museum this summer features an outdoor exhibition of Dale Chihuly’s colorful glasswork, along with a Buckminster Fuller-designed dome and a new entrance that will connect patrons to the surrounding woods.
- The National Quilt Museum, 215 Jefferson St.; 270-442-8856;
- Paducah Symphony Orchestra, 760 Broadway; 270-444-0065;
- Market House Theatre, 132 Market House Square; 270- 444-6828;
- Tusk & Trotter, 110 S.E. A St; 479-268-4494;
- 21C Museum Hotel, 200 N.E. A St; 479-286-6500;
- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 600 Museum Way; 479-418-5700