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. 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, about eight to nine miles south of Gualala.
Elsewhere in Gualala
Operated by the Gualala Arts Center, this gallery features art and fine crafts by a wide variety of artists. The artists frequently serve as volunteers in the gallery. Monthly exhibit opening receptions are on the first night of the exhibit from 5 to 7 pm, usually on the first Saturday of the month. The Dolphin also serves as a local visitors center, providing information about what to see and do in and around Gualala.
39225 Highway 1, behind the post office in downtown Gualala, 707-884-3896
This gallery specializes in fine art photographs as works of art, especially the work of famed photographer Ansel Adams
39141 South Highway 1, Gualala, 707-884-4884
An artists collective, the Discovery Gallery showcases local North Coast artists representing a full variety of art forms, including one-of-a-kind original ceramics, sculptures, oil, acrylic or watercolor paintings, mixed media art, mosaics, iPad and digital art, collage, and unique jewelry designs.
39140 South Highway 1, Gualala, 707-884-1900
Located on the southeastern edge of town, the center offers more than 100 advertized performances and events each year, and more than 1,000 calendared events. Something happens at the Gualala Arts Center almost every day and every night. That includes monthly art exhibits; concerts, live theater, dance, and cultural presentations; fairs and festivals of all types; children's activities; and classes and workshops in painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, pottery, quilting, cooking, Tai Chi, aerobics, and karate (to name a few).
46501 Old State Highway, Gualala, 707-884-1138
Meet working artists in their own studios and galleries along 25 miles of Coastal Highway 1, from The Sea Ranch in the south to Manchester in the north. This annual free studio tour is hosted by the North Coast Artists Guild, which supports working artists in the coastal communities in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
Exploring Around Gualala
Taste wine and enjoy the view at Annapolis Winery (26055 Soda Springs Road, Annapolis, 707-886-5460), located about 10 miles south of Gualala, and another three miles up a private road from Coastal Highway 1. Nestled on a sunny hilltop and surrounded by redwood forests at an elevation of about 1,000 feet, the winery offers views that are as beautiful as they are breathtaking, matched by its locally-grown, hand-crafted, ultra-premium wines. If you're in the mood, bring a picnic to enjoy while you're there.
Discover panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, sky, rocky ocean outcrops, migrating whales, and amazing sunsets on the six public access trails that Sonoma County Regional Parks operates in The Sea Ranch, a private community located about eights miles south of Gualala. Or explore the beaches, sand dunes, open meadows, and coastal forest in the 195-acre Gualala Point Regional Park.
Written by Sonoma Insider Patricia Lynn Henley.