Remember to road trip this summer

It's unofficially summertime here in the Northern Hemisphere and it's time to get in the car and head out on the open road. Search for cities within a single day’s drive and find out what you might be missing at art venues.

I grew up and used to live in Oklahoma City, which was close to numerous art venues in Tulsa, Fort Worth, Dallas, Wichita, Kansas City, and points beyond. (For those of you on the East Coast and abroad who can't imagine a three-hour-or-longer road trip, you're missing out.)

Rick Spooner, 1955 Ford Thunderbird
Image ©Rick Spooner, 1955 Ford Thunderbird

There were a number of times I hopped in the car after deciding an exhibit or event just couldn't be missed. Among them:

My first opportunity to write for Fiberarts magazine. My mother and I loaded up the car and road tripped to Arrowmont in eastern Tennessee. We spent Thanksgiving there–next to Dollywood and all of the outlet stores–and took in a wonderful exhibit of contemporary quilts.

The touring production of Still/Here by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company when it made it to Lawrence, KS. This was one of the best experiences of my life.

The Magritte retrospective at the Menil Collection in Houston, TX. WOW! And another chance to see the nearby Rothko Chapel (one of my favorite places on earth).

The Richard Diebenkorn and Sean Scully retrospectives at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. In 2004 I returned to see their newly opened building and was bowled over by the Philip Guston show and the wonderful space. I went again last year during my book tour.

A road trip to evaluate informal family learning at museums and discovery centers in Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. I came upon–quite accidentally–the City Museum in St. Louis, which was so cool. They had an exhibit with a shoe theme that had a shoe theater (instead of puppet theater). I'll never forget it!

The day I drove from Lake Eufaula in eastern Oklahoma to see the ancient site of Spiro Mounds.

Go out of your way to see more art. You never know when you'll come upon a life-altering or art-altering experience. Gas is half the price it was last year, so take advantage of it while you can!

Do you have a favorite art-related road trip? Share it in the comments.

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7 thoughts on “Remember to road trip this summer”

  1. I’m hoping to hit up Marfa this summer, and on the way back catch the Lightning Field. I wanted to go last summer, but it didn’t happen.

    I <3 road trips, last year we wandered our way to the family homestead and back in the middle of june. It was nice.

  2. The Angel Snakes are taking Ron and me on a long road trip starting next weekend. From Galveston we head to Los Angeles, Denver, Kansas City, Fort Worth, and back home. They have some interesting ideas about art they want to see along the way.

    Follow us at

    Wings Up!

  3. I live near the Spiro Mounds and hav neot stopped once to see them. There are mounds all over this side of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

  4. I was recently in Tacoma WA where the Tacoma Museum of Art, the Washington History Museum, the old Union Station and the Museum of Glass are all within walking distance of each other. I was very impressed with the art museum.


  5. I recently went to York and visited the city gallery. By chance a St. Ives exhibition. There was a couple of paintings by Alfred Wallace (mariner and “primitive” painter) displayed along side some of some well known modern artist. I have been reading about Wallis for years and it was nice to finally see some of his work.
    It was a nice day so got into a lot of other fun stuff too.

  6. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Rachel: I’d be so jealous if you went to Marfa! That is sooooooo on my list. I wish for you lots of lightning, too.

    Gay: I sure hope you give me a holler when you’re headed to Denver. I think we need a pic with the angel snakes.

    Tammy: Goodness! You need to go to the mounds. I know what it’s like, though, to live so close to something that you take it for granted.

    Jan: Was in Tacoma last year? Or the year before? Lovely museum.

    Kim: Sounds like a perfect trip for you. Did you go there just to see the work?

  7. Our regular holiday “road trip” is a long haul from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Nova Scotia, with stops in Ottawa, Ontario, Quebec City, Quebec, and Frederickton, New Brunswick. All along the trip there are galleries, historic sites, and natural wonders to visit. We love heading out. This year though we may fly out, because we just have two weeks, and it takes four days of driving to get there, and four back (especially if you’re checking out the art along the way).

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