Located on the border of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, the small town of Gualala (pop. 2,093) definitely enjoys more than the typical number of art galleries.
Four galleries are located within steps of each other in the Cypress Village business center along Highway 1. They've dubbed themselves the Cypress Village Gallery District. With easy access off the highway (look for the clock tower) and ample parking, it's a fun and simple stop for art lovers.
This bright and award-winning gallery displays photography, paintings, sculpture, glass, and ceramics by about a dozen local, regional, and nationally-established artists. That includes striking photography by gallery owner Paul Kozal. He captures the quiet grandeur of this enchanting area, from the dynamic ocean to the quiet forests, serene meadows, seasonal waterfalls, and weathered structures. (39102 Ocean Drive, Cypress Village, Gualala, 707-884-9065)
Just across the walkway you'll find Placewares (see photo), a design store focused on "art for everyday." And inside Placewares you'll find the small but intriguing LyndonDesign fine art gallery. Owners Lu and Maynard Lyndon represent about 15 artists, both local and nationwide, chosen for their focus on architecture, landscape, and place. Whether in the store or the gallery, the emphasis here is on things done well. (39114 Ocean Drive, Cypress Village, Gualala, 707-884-1184)
Upstairs, directly above Placewares+LyndonDesign, you'll find Henley's, offering unique fine art combined with carefully selected crafts by nationally recognized artisans. A total of 19 windows create a light and airy space to display work by up to 100 different artists and artisans. (39114 Ocean Drive, Cypress Village, Gualala, 707-884-1531)
Head downstairs and a few steps across the parking lot to Spindrift Gallery (39120 Ocean Drive, Cypress Village, Gualala, 707-884-4484). Owner Craig Gilliland presents an eclectic collection of contemporary art of all kinds, including his own work. Displays in this clean, bright gallery change every two or three months. Spindrift also displays fine art on a rotating basis at the Sea Ranch Lodge, in The Sea Ranch community about eight to nine miles south of Gualala.
There are several other galleries in Gualala
Dolphin Gallery & Shop is operated by the Gualala Arts Center and features art and fine crafts by a wide variety of artists. (39225 Highway 1, behind the post office in downtown Gualala, 707-884-3896)
Alinder Studio Gallery specializes in fine art photography, especially the work of famed photographer Ansel Adams (39141 South Highway 1, Gualala, 707-884-4884).
Discovery Gallery features fine art by local artists (39140 South Highway 1, Gualala, 707-884-1900).
Be sure to visit the Gualala Arts Center , on the southeastern edge of town. The center offers art exhibits, concerts, live theater, festivals, classes, interest groups, and much more.
And each Labor Day weekend, Spindrift Gallery and Studio 391 combine with the nonprofit Art by the Sea to sponsor the annual Sea Ranch Art Tour. For this self-guided tour, coastal artists present their work in studios and local galleries.
Written by Sonoma Insider Patricia Lynn Henley.