Art Walks in Sonoma County
Stroll through fascinating neighborhoods, view a wide variety of artwork, sip a little wine, nibble on an appetizer, and perhaps enjoy a bit of music during one of Sonoma County's multitude of art walks.
Whether it's a monthly or annual event, and organized by gallery owners or the artists themselves, an art walk lets you explore the local creative scene on foot, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Here's a quick list of the art walks that let you walk from place to place, enjoying Sonoma County's bounty in the form of art, wine, food, and music.
Local art and artisans take center stage in one of the liveliest monthly events in the Russian River town of Guerneville from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. the first Friday of each month, year round. Art galleries, tasting rooms, and local merchants stay open for this monthly happening, which also frequently includes special receptions with local artists and rotating exhibits, as well as street performers and musicians. Start the evening by picking up a guide/map to the night's events at the Sonoma Nesting Company (16151 Main St., Guerneville, 707-869-3434).
First Friday Art Walk, Santa Rosa
Second Saturday Art Walk, Petaluma
Walk from studio to studio in the often overlooked coastal community of Salmon Creek Village, where about 100 homes are tucked between Highway 1 and the beach just a mile north of Bodega Bay. Typically 10 to 12 resident and guest artists participate in this annual open studio event each November, with a wide variety of artwork presented in a gorgeous and rustic seaside setting.
Sonoma Art Walk, Sonoma
Enjoy music, art, poetry, and dance from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at more than 25 wine tasting rooms, stores, and restaurants on and around the Sonoma Plaza. The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and the Sonoma Community Center also open their gallery spaces as part of the evening, and the monthly event is a collaboration between those organizations and the Sonoma Chamber of Commerce, the city of Sonoma, the Sonoma Arts Guild, the Sonoma Visitors Bureau, and others. Everything is within easy walking distance, and the participating artists range from painters and other fine artists to more interactive demonstrations such as music, poetry, or special culinary arts.
There's not currently an official artwalk in downtown Healdsburg, but with some two dozen art galleries within walking distance of the central plaza, you can easily create your own artistic itinerary. For details, read Stroll From Art Gallery to Art Gallery in Healdsburg.
Of course, art walks aren't the only way to walk from artwork to artwork in Sonoma County. Permanent outdoor sculpture gardens are plentiful. Here's a quick list.
This museum includes two facilities on one campus, with history displays in the old post office and an art gallery next door in a renovated warehouse. A door in the back of the history building leads to a delightful outdoor sculpture garden designed by landscape architect Frederic Warnecke, featuring work by California artists. Admission is $10, which includes both museums and the sculpture garden. 425 Seventh St., Santa Rosa, 707-579-1500
Explore an ever-changing series of gallery-style walk-through gardens, both plant-oriented and architectural/sculptural. 23570 Highway 121, Sonoma, 707-933-3010
This three-block-long neighborhood in Sebastopol is dotted with colorful, whimsical, and oversized sculptures made from recycled materials by husband and wife team Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent. Florence Avenue, Sebastopol
The northern Sonoma County communities of Geyserville and Cloverdale both host sculpture trails, which feature a wide variety of unique public artworks. For more details, read Following the Sculpture Trails in Northern Sonoma County.
Written by Sonoma Insider Patricia Lynn Henley.