Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with its cobblestone sidewalks, historical architecture, parks and seacoast breeze, draws people from all over New England and from all over the world. One of the main attractions of Portsmouth, outside of it’s curbside beauty, is its culture. Everywhere you turn there is a theater or performance space, live music on the streets, traveling artists, writers, and musicals in Prescott Park, and art, so much art! Murals, galleries, painters making the city their studio and much more.
In an effort to document that art that makes this city, we created a self-guided Art Map to see all of the murals, statues, and monuments that you may not even know exist in Portsmouth.
Some of the public art pieces you will see like the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on at Goodwin Park on Islington Street and was created by Monumental Bronze Co. This monument, which is made of White Bronze, was dedicated on July 4th in 1888, honoring soldiers that were lost in the Civil War.
Also on your walking path is Gilley’s Mural, a staple here in the historical city. Gilley’s Diner has been around since the 1940’s when the lunch cart was first hauled into Market Square every evening in front of North Church to feed the night dwellers of Portsmouth. There were five “Gilly’s” carts built by the Worcester Diner Co., but the Gilley’s we know and love now was permanently stationed on Fleet Street in 1974, it’s the only running cart remaining. The Mural behind it was painted by Wells Maine artist John Richard Perry in the early 2000’s featuring a serene Market Square.
We suggest wrapping up your Art Map tour at the My Mother, The Wind sculpture that sits on the end of the jetty of Four Tree Island. This Australian Dark Gray Granite sculpture was created in November of 1974 by Cabot Lyford (1925 – 2016). This public art structure includes an inscription that states: “For those who sailed here to find a new life.” Lyford’s art, which was displayed at many museums across the United States, was inspired by nature and the art of the female body.
Whether you’re coming to visit for a week in the summer or are a local looking for something free to do on a sunny Portsmouth weekend, exploring our Art Map is a great way to learn more about Portsmouth’s history while getting up and active. There are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops along the way to keep you fueled on you walk.
If you are looking for a more in depth, self-guided tour, our friends at Discover Portsmouth have their own Art Walk that explores the various galleries around Portsmouth that display local artists.