Arts

Key West is one of America's most productive and inspiring communities for artists.

Ernest Hemingway at work in his Key West home.

Ernest Hemingway at work in his Key West home.

Key West has served as inspirational and working home to countless artists for the past two centuries.

From its earliest days the unspoiled scenery, quiet neighborhoods, and avant garde persona have fostered a vibrant community of artists, craftsmen, performers, writers, musicians, and visionaries.

Here are just a few of Key West’s famous artists:

  • Ernest Hemingway – the great writer lived in Key West for a productive decade where he wrote “To Have and Have Not” and many other works.
  • Tennessee Williams – first came to Key West in 1941
  • Wallace Stevens – major American poet of the 19th century
  • Robert Frost – one of America’s greatest poets, he spent winters in a cottage at 410 Caroline Street
  • James Merrill – Pulitzer prize winning poet who lived in the 700 block of Elizabeth Street during the 1970s
  • Winslow Homer's painting "Fishing Boats, Key West"

    Winslow Homer’s painting “Fishing Boats, Key West”

    Elizabeth Bishop – Pulitzer prize winning poet who lived at 624 White Street

  • Jimmy Buffett – found his big musical break while living in Key West, beginning a new genre of music today called “Trop Rock”
  • Mario Sanchez – considered on of America’s greatest folk artists
  • John James Audubon – who visited Key West in the 1800’s and illustrated many of the birds included in his “Birds of America” masterpiece work
  • Winslow Homer – one of America’s finest impressionists painted seascapes in Key West
  • Judy Blume – America’s premier young adult writer continues to live in Key West
  • Thomas McGuane – the writer lived on the 400 block of Elizabeth Street
  • Painted wood carving by Mario Sanchez, known for capturing earlier Key West life.

    Painted wood carving by Mario Sanchez, known for capturing earlier Key West life.

    Shel Silverstein – beloved writer of The Giving Tree lived on William Street

  • and so many, many others that we have sworn to secrecy

So, while here in Key West, take a cue from the artistic greats of past and present and find your inner artist.  Stoke your creativity, take a painting class, pen your own work of prose, write a song, and cultivate your own point of view.

For inspiration, you only need to wander the neighborhoods, gaze out at the tranquil sea, chat with the unique citizenry, and let go of your mainland obligations.  We wish you much inspiration and creativity.