If you are a culture vulture, Santa Monica art galleries are a must. (Photo: Getty Images)
Santa Monica may be a small city, but don’t be too quick to judge its artistic relevance: Nearly half of its population is employed by the arts, making it one of the most creative communities in the U.S. As such, its gallery scene is strong, with exhibits on display everywhere from Main Street to Mid-City. Whether you’re after street art or sculptures, here are five cultural stops worth adding to your Santa Monica itinerary now.
Bergamot Station and The Lora Schlesinger Gallery
Looking for a big dose of art under one roof? Head to Bergamot Station, which houses more than 30 top galleries in the Santa Monica area. Just one of those is The Lora Schlesinger Gallery, a space originally founded in 1975 that moved into Bergamot Station in 1994. The gallery focuses on paintings from California-based names, including multimedia artist Raymond Saunders.
There’s always something in rotation at haleARTS, which holds new artist receptions every other Friday evening (complete with complimentary bites and sips). With an emphasis on contemporary art and photography, the team is dedicated to showcasing local, up-and-coming artists whose works span all mediums. Keep an eye out for their $100 art sales, quarterly events for collectors, to find great deals on local fine art.
Buckshot Gallery was co-founded by graffiti icon RISK in October 2015, making it one of the newest openings in the city’s vibrant art scene. This gallery’s goal is to create a platform for groundbreaking street art from local and international artists, and photographers, including AXIS, SEEN, Nathan Ota and Steven Lippman.
Just footsteps away from Ocean View Park, Axiom Contemporary specializes in California pop, abstract and modern art from new and established talent alike. That translates to figurative collages from Venice-based Jay Kelly, x-ray compositions from Nick Veasey, sculptures from Irina Daylene and book paintings from Roger Kizik.
The Christopher Grimes Gallery
Founded in 1979, the Christopher Grimes Gallery shines a light on pieces that cross a range of art media. In its 37 years the space has seen everything, from the photography of Gianfranco Foschino and black oil paintings of Scott Short, to the altered state installations of Lucia Koch and anonymous subject paintings of Salomón Huerta.