An Evening of Art,
Wine and Finger Food
at the 8th Annual
Expanding Experiences

A second, but completely different type of art event is Expanding Experiences, a high-profile meet-and-greet in the lower Arsenal. Music, wine tasting from Northern California wineries and finger food from area restaurants are combined with a self-guided tour of artist open studios. Held on a Wednesday evening, this is a great option for individuals or families who are busy with fall sports or out of town on the weekends.

The Rotary Club of Benicia “adopted” Liberty high many years ago, recognizing that art and cultural offerings were a powerful way to engage Liberty students lacking credits and self-esteem. The money raised is used mostly for art education and field trips to art events, museums, and other creative outings, giving students an opportunity to expand their horizons and gain confidence.

Rotarians team up with Arts Benicia to produce the event, where Liberty students serve hors d’oeuvres to the 300-strong crowd meandering around the buildings on Jackson and Tyler Streets. This event will probably sell out, so buy tickets early from Benicia Rotary or Arts Benicia.

September 14, 6-8:30pm
Benicia Historic Arsenal, Jackson & Tyler Streets
Tickets: $35,, 707.745.6650

Arts Benicia 19th Annual
Benefit Art Auction & Gala

One of the best see-and-be-seen parties of the year, this event attracts seasoned art buyers, art novices looking to score their first original work and those who have discovered just how fun this event can be. The main attraction is the art, but the buzz of excitement brings people together for an eagerly anticipated good time.

The evening begins at a leisurely pace in the Arts Benicia Gallery, while guests socialize and peruse the exhibit of silent auction items. These pieces are one-of- a-kind works, including sculpture, mixed media, paintings, etchings, photographs, jewelry, art glass and more.

The silent auction’s low-key vibe makes it possible to score a deal on original art without breaking the bank. Bidders can enjoy a glass of wine and conversation while keeping a sharp eye out for competition on their favorite pieces.

When the silent auction closes, guests are seated to watch or participate in the lively part of the evening: the live auction, which generates stiff competition for works by artists that are generally more valuable. Bidding gets intense as serious art buyers from around the Bay turn out to add to their collections. And then it’s over all too soon, when an evening of excitement becomes a happy memory. The event has sold out the past two years, so order tickets early through Arts Benicia’s website.

September 24, 6:30pm
Benicia Clock Tower, 1201 Washington Street
Tickets: $35, $60 per couple, 707.747.0131

Fine Arts & Crafts Fair
38 Years Strong

Sponsored by the Benicia Chamber of Commerce as a community event and major fundraiser, this is a free arts and crafts street fair that draws visitors from all over the Bay Area. The long-running festival always gets great reviews and is touted as one of the largest Bay Area arts and craft shows. Not to be confused with the Benicia Peddlers Fair, which is mostly antiques and is held in August, crowds are estimated at as many as 20,000, with over 150 exhibitors along First Street from G Street to the waterfront.

Arts and Crafts can encompass a wide range of offerings, and this fair has it all: fine art, home and garden décor, toys, jewelry, gifts, floral arrangements, furniture, clothing, accessories, oil & watercolor paintings, photography, handcrafted pottery, holiday decorations, handmade candles, quilts and much more. Vendors are pre-screened to ensure a high quality event.

Considering the many shops, restaurants and galleries lining First Street, this event is a day trip’s worth of activities. The Fair takes place Saturday, September 17, 10am-4pm. Admission and parking are free, and the event will take place rain or shine.

Benicia Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center
601 First Street, Benicia, 707.745.2120