Creativity reigns supreme in Sonoma County. Although our world-class winemakers and award-winning chefs tend to take center stage, the region also is home to a diverse range of artists, who display their works in open studios and galleries. Art can also be enjoyed outside of galleries and museums in Wine Country — in hotels, restaurants, even vineyards.
Here are a few of our favorite artsy destinations in Sonoma County.
The Donum Estate, Sonoma
This Sonoma Valley estate is home to an expanding sculpture collection acquired by Donum owners Allan and Mei Warburg. The collection, displayed throughout the 200-acre vineyard property, currently comprises over 50 large-scale contemporary sculptures by artists such as Ai Weiwei, Keith Haring, Jaume Plensa, Subodh Gupta and Tracey Emin.
Donum Home, which houses the wine estate’s tasting room, was reconfigured this year by award-winning Danish architect David Thulstrup. The new interior reflects the architect’s Scandinavian heritage (owner Allan Warburg is also of Danish descent) while paying homage to the local landscape and “Californian authenticity.”
Tastings and tours at Donum Estate are available by appointment only. 24500 Ramal Rd., Sonoma
Legion Projects Gallery, Healdsburg
Gallerist Sydney Pfaff of the recently opened Legion Projects gallery in Healdsburg has an eye for new talent and often works with young artists of color. Her streamlined gallery space, with a huge mural on the wall outside, is tucked into a cluster of modern gray studios, north of the Healdsburg Plaza. Pfaff curates contemporary shows that rotate about every six weeks.
Open Thursday- Saturday 12-3 and by appointment. 711A Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg
Paul Mahder Gallery, Healdsburg
Paul Mahder, a fine art photographer, has been representing contemporary artists for nearly twenty years. In 2007, he founded the Paul Mahder Gallery in San Francisco’s Presidio Heights neighborhood, which eventually expanded to a second location in Healdsburg. Housed in an 8,000 square-foot double Quonset hut with 30 ft. ceilings, it exhibits a wide range of artwork — paintings, sculptures, photography and more — by established artists from around the world. 222 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg
Lisa Kristine Gallery, Sonoma
Humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine travels the world documenting the realities of indigenous peoples. Spanning over 30 years and more than 150 countries, her work includes intimate portraits of women, men and children as well as haunting images of social injustice, such as modern day slavery. With each photograph, Kristine aims to enhance the viewer’s awareness and engage them in a visual journey: “I want the people who experience my work to have the opportunity to gaze into the eyes of the ‘other’ and find there a familiarity.”
The Lisa Kristine Gallery is open Thursday-Monday, 12-4 p.m. 452 1st St E, Sonoma, 707-938-3860
Museum of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa
The Museum of Sonoma County (MSC) boasts an impressive permanent collection of 18,000 pieces of art and rotates between 12-15 exhibits annually, ranging from artistic explorations of the cultural histories of local peoples to automotive kinetic art. A small sampling of the permanent collection is part of the current exhibition, 35: Thirty-Five Artists for Thirty-Five Years, on display through October. The annual exhibition, Artistry in Wood, begins November 12. Set aside time during your visit to to wander through the museum’s sculpture garden. 425 7th St, Santa Rosa
Find inspiration in the lush gardens of this gallery, which—in collaboration with Oakland-based SLATE Contemporary—is exhibiting a series of three art exhibitions that will run eight weeks each through December. Now up, Elements of Nature will run through November 7th and includes abstract works inspired by nature from six West Coast artists — Robert Buelteman, Lisa Kairos, Rob Snyder, Jill Lear, Marcia Stuermer and Tobias Tovera.
Works can be viewed and acquired from the gallery Wednesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturdays through Tuesdays by appointment. 23570 Arnold Dr, Sonoma
Art at The Restaurant
Several Sonoma County restaurants regularly exhibit and sell works by local artists, including The Spinster Sisters and Zoftig Eatery in Santa Rosa. Music and art lovers will enjoy the original concert posters from San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium at Bravas Bar de Tapas in Healdsburg.
Known as SOFA Art Alley, this neighborhood in Santa Rosa is home to around 40 studios, galleries and shops, yielding the highest concentration of professional artistry in the county. It’s a wonderful spot for a day full of art; find people strolling through galleries or stopping for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants close by. 312 South A Street, Santa Rosa
Paradise Ridge Winery, Santa Rosa
Wine and art are a natural pairing at Santa Rosa’s Paradise Ridge Winery. Shortly after the winery opened in 1994, sculpture art began taking root in between the vines. The LOVE sign, which survived the 2017 wildfire that destroyed the winery, may be the the most recognized sculpture here but there are some dozen additional pieces scattered throughout the winery grounds, about half of which have been displayed at Burning Man. The winery was rebuilt and reopened in 2019.
Paradise Ridge hosts a biennial outdoor sculpture exhibit in Marijke’s Grove, a tribute to Paradise Ridge co-founder Marijke Byck-Hoenselaars, who died in 2006. The current exhibition, Resilience, was curated by Kate Eilertsen in partnership with Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation and will be on display through spring of 2022.
Open for wine tastings Thursday through Monday by appointment. 4545 Thomas Lake Harris Dr, Santa Rosa
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