Locals and visitors alike are invited to make downtown Benicia their destination on Saturday, June 12, for the first Benicia Art Walk of 2021.

Sponsored by the City of Benicia, and now in its tenth year, this popular event takes place on the second Saturdays of June, July, September, and October. The pandemic interrupted activities in 2020 – three of the four dates were cancelled – but improved conditions have made the resumption of the Art Walks in 2021 a go.

The eight galleries and studios participating this year represent one of the most active art communities in the Bay Area: Arata Art Gallery, Artcentric, Happy Life Pottery, HQ Gallery, Gallery 621, Once Upon a Canvas, Benicia Plein Air Gallery, and The Little Art Shop. Visitors will recognize participating galleries by the colorful blue banners posted out front. Galleries of First Street are again sponsoring the popular Art Passport program, in which art lovers are invited to pick up a post-card sized “Passport” at any of the locations and get it stamped at each gallery. The completed passports are entered in a drawing for $200 that can be redeemed at any one of the galleries. The Art Walk runs from 1 to 5 p.m.

Activities are planned at each location, as artists enjoy interacting with the community, with all safety protocols being observed.

Arata Art Gallery will be hosting an Artist Reception highlighting new works created by Geraldine Arata during the pandemic. The new works are paintings in oils with mixed media, bejeweled and sculpted.

Benicia Plein Air Gallery will be featuring the works of artist Iris Sabre.  Her latest collection, “New Beginnings,” will be on display throughout June. As a plein air painter – a practice of painting outdoors, as opposed to in the studio – she communicates the joy and beauty of the natural world in her painting.

The HQ Gallery is featuring its Art Filled Life exhibition, featuring works by 18 artists in a variety of media. Many works are paired with poetry inspired by the artwork. In a collaboration with Arts Benicia, the gallery will be displaying Ce N’est Pas Un Chapeau, a fun, whimsical ceramic work by Gallery 621 artist Pam Dixon. The work is being raffled off as part of a fundraiser for the nonprofit art center. The raffle begins June 11 and continues through the month at the Arata Art Gallery and Gallery 621. The HQ Gallery also invites visitors to enter a free drawing for an artwork being created collaboratively by gallery artists. The drawing will take place during the July Art Walk.

Happy Life Pottery will feature artworks of in-house artists David and Amy Stellato and Nick Gallardo, and mixed media works of Travis White. The studio is also featuring the works of Palo Alto pastel artist Ellen Gust as part of Arts Benicia Presents.

Once Upon a Canvas will be exhibiting artworks created by students of artist-teacher Charles White.  The Little Art Shop, both a gallery and a gift shop, will feature the innovative fused-glass art of Mary Danko Williams, as well as works of over 30 other talented local artists who were hand-picked to represent their art form.

As you find your way from one gallery to another, enjoy shopping, historical sites, and Benicia’s waterfront views. Come for lunch and stay for dinner at one of Benicia’s many restaurants. Parking is plentiful.

Patrons look at artwork inside HQ Gallery