Four Emerging Art Cities to Watch

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Four Emerging Art Cities to Watch

From new art fairs, to blossoming gallery scenes, to growing collector bases and emerging artist communities, these four cities are our top pics for art capitols on the rise:


1. Seoul, S. Korea - Seoul is one of our favorite art cities, and a place that has seen a lot of attention from the art world since the opening of Frieze Art Fair in 2022.  There's so much happening here that makes it exciting, from Seoul, to the southeastern city of Busan - so much inspiration, new galleries, and unique creative spaces exhibiting art. The South Korean capitol has become a powerhouse destination for contemporary art and there's a youthful and original pulse and vibe that's like nowhere else we've experienced before. 

One of our favorite destinations is Amore Pacific Museum (APMA) located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. Originally a museum exhibiting artworks collected by the late Seo Seong-hwan, the founder of Amorepacific, the mission of APMA is to be "a space where beauty in the midst of daily lives is discovered". The museum collects, researches, and exhibits Korean ancient art and both Korean and international contemporary art while also aiding researchers, scholars, and young artists. 

Entrance to Amore Pacific Museum (APMA), located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul


Frieze Art Fair, Seoul 


2. Seattle, Washington- Seattle is a city close to our hearts that we've been watching blossom over the years. Komo Co-Founder Sarah grew up there and the city has really changed since that time in terms of the presence of and access to major art collections and exhibitions. Some noteworthy recent events include that Seattle University received a record-breaking $300 million art collection donation from philanthropist Richard Hedreen. This is the largest gift of art ever given to a university in the United States. The Hedreen Collection includes over 200 artworks spanning centuries, from 15th-century pieces to contemporary works. Renowned artists like Titian, a master of the Italian Renaissance, and pop art icon Andy Warhol are included in the collection. Richard Hedreen and his wife Betty, who graduated from Seattle University, were dedicated patrons of the university's art initiatives. Betty even received the prestigious Alumna of the Year Award in 2011. This generous gift will not only establish a brand new museum at Seattle University, providing invaluable educational opportunities for students and faculty, but also ensure the entire collection remains together. 

Rashid Johnson: Seascape “Jitter Bug”, 2022, oil on linen, 72 by 96 1/8 by 1 5/8 inches.

Rashid Johnson, Seascape “Jitter Bug”, 2022 (from the Hedreen Collection)

Photo : © Rashid Johnson. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo Stephanie Powell

Amy Sherald: The Make- Believer (Monet’s Garden), 2016, oil on canvas, 54 by 43 inches.

Amy Sherald, The Make-Believer (Monet’s Garden), 2016 (from the Hedreen Collection)

Photo : © Amy Sherald. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo Joseph Hyde

With several $Bs in high level art donations received over the last several years, the Seattle Art Museum has become a major museum powerhouse on the west coast. Collector, John Shirley recently donated 48 Alexander Calders to the museum concurrent with the exhibition Calder: In Motion

Gifts like this are truly transformational for these Seattle art institutions and signal the commitment to and investment in the continued growth of the art community here. Add to that the robust regional gallery scene held down by Lynn Hanson, Winston Wachter, J Rinehart and Electric Coffin, along with the exciting new comers like Studio E. gallery, The Vestibule, and Mini Mart City Park, and you have a really dynamic and exciting growing art community.

Mini Mart City Park, am arts-focused cultural center redefining a former gas station brownfield site.

There are many exciting arts and culture moments in this city that happen under the radar. One of the biggest that speaks to the true essence of Seattle from an artistic and cultural standpoint of independent art is Forest through the Trees, which started as a once a year exhibition, which ran concurrent during the Seattle Art Fair and takes over the Rail Spur Building in downtown Seattle. It has now become a full year program for the Seattle emerging arts scene.

3. Atlanta, Georgia - Atlanta is one of the country's fastest growing cities and offers a vibrant and expanding contemporary art scene as well. this October, the city will get its own art fair with the support of Art Market Productions (AMP) and in collaboration with Intersect Art and Design. The fair will take place in October 2024, alongside the third edition of Atlanta Art Week. 

The High Museum of Art, designed to meet audiences at the intersection of culture and community is one of our favorite places in the city. The High was designed by renowned architect, Richard Meier, one of our favorites as well.

High Museum of Art - Home of World Class Art - Go Guides

High Museum of Art - Atlanta, GA • Finding Family Adventures

4.  Marseille, France- France's second largest city, Marseille, offers an alternative and more affordable place than Paris for artists. Lower rents and better access to space have made the city an attractive option for artists to set up shop and double down on studio space. It’s also a place where cultural movements like Afrofuturism and underground electronic music have flourished and where people flock to for a fresh start.  Parisians have come in droves (nearly one in 10 home buyers in Marseille are from the capital region, Île-de-France) since 2020, among them chefs, artists and entrepreneurs.

Marseille Is the Best French City to Visit for Art, Food and Culture

Photo: Office Métropolitain de Tourisme et des Congrès de Marseille

The city offeres a vibrant culinary landscape, a booming music scene, contemporary art galleries and large-scale cultural and preservation projects such as the Cosquer Méditerranée, a new museum that replicates the prehistoric underwater Cosquer Cave and its Paleolithic artwork. If you visit, make sure you see La Cité Radieuse, the vertical village built by Le Corbusier in 1947—and one of France’s greatest works of modern architecture. Head up to its rooftop for spectacular city views and temporary art shows at MAMO as well.

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