Normally, when I travel to new places, I always make an effort to schedule a visit to a couple of local art centers or museums. I’ve always been fascinated with art, and by visiting these places it allows me to get a cultural sense of the destination that I’m visiting. Our destination - San Mateo County/Silicon Valley - is also rich with art and history, offering numerous art centers throughout the county that are open for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re visiting Northern, Central, Coastal or Southern San Mateo County or Palo Alto, you are guaranteed to find a center featuring amazing art pieces with incredible history. And, to make things even better, admission to all of these places is always free!
Peninsula Museum of Art
Where: Burlingame, CA
The Peninsula Museum of Art was founded by Ruth Waters, who had an interesting collection of art from fellow artists and a BIG dream of opening an art museum on the peninsula. After countless struggles and obstacles, the dream became a reality, and the Peninsula Museum of Art was born in 2003. The museum’s goal is to enhance our region and enrich lives through art and education, by featuring changing exhibitions of work by outstanding artists of the Greater Bay Area. All ages are invited to visit the museum during regular hours on Wednesday through Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM. The museum also offers classes for children and adults, beginner through advanced. Classes include classic drawing, watercolor, painting, sculpture in stone and metal, and much more.
Society of West-Coast Artists
Where: San Bruno
The Society of West-Coast Artists is a society located in Northern and Central California. The San Francisco Chapter is located in the city of San Bruno, approximately 10 miles south of San Francisco. Their art demonstrations are open to the public on the third Saturday of the month from 1 PM to 3 PM. SWA’s major show is their Annual Exhibition of Art, featuring the best of the best in competition for established awards. This is held during the spring and, in 2019, SWA will hold its 69th Annual Exhibition.
Sanchez Art Center
Where: Pacifica, CA
Planning a trip to the coast? The Sanchez Art Center, located just a little over a mile inland from Pacifica State Beach at Linda Mar, is a comfortable and welcoming place for the community to gather, engage, and be enriched by the arts. The center welcomes art lovers, artists and community members and visitors of all ages that are interested in exploring different perspectives. Three exhibit spaces display art by emerging and established California artists. The center also offers education, classes and outreach programs designed to make art accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. Opening receptions are generally held from 7 PM to 9 PM on the first Friday of each exhibition. The center is open to the public on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1 PM – 5 PM.
Our destination is also rich with art and history, offering numerous art centers throughout the county that are open for everyone to enjoy.
Where: Palo Alto, CA
Spending a fun day in Palo Alto? Take a break and experience beautiful art and inspiring journeys. The Foster, houses the permanent collection of the Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation, which was established to preserve, and keep intact, Tony Foster’s watercolor journey paintings. Since 1982, Tony has created a series of watercolor journeys in the world’s great wildernesses. The Foster also serves as a venue for art, wilderness, educational and community programs and events. The museum is open daily. We recommend visiting their website to learn more about the exhibits and artwork.
Cantor Arts Center
Where: Stanford, CA
Serving the Stanford campus, the Bay Area community, and visitors from around the world, the Cantor Arts Center provides an outstanding cultural experience for visitors of all ages. The Cantor’s collection spans 5,000 years and includes more than 38,000 works of art from around the globe. These include its renowned collection of Rodin bronze sculptures, which are displayed inside the museum, as well as in the outdoor Rodin Sculpture Garden. With 24 galleries and more than 15 special exhibitions each year, the Cantor is an established resource for teaching and research on campus. Tours, lectures, and family activities make the Cantor one of the most visited university art museums in the country.
Where: Menlo Park, CA
Based in downtown Menlo Park, A.Space showcases original artwork representing a broad spectrum of talented artists with unique perspectives. Their gallery features local emerging artists, as well as more established painters and sculptors, whose creative talents cross various mediums including oils, acrylics, glass, bronze, steel, stone and more. Access to the gallery is always open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday. Visitors are welcome to appreciate the art and, if anything catches your eye, you are able to purchase the artwork. Furthermore, A.Space hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, so make sure to check out their calendar of events often!
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