Getting To Know Benicia’s Distinctive Art Galleries
Each of Benicia’s seven art galleries is unique. With distinctive spaces and varying types and styles of art, the galleries have made their mark on the local art scene, giving residents and visitors an outlet to view the works of Benicia and Northern California artists. Whether visiting the galleries a few at a time or making a day of it built around a meal at a downtown eatery, you’ll find a wide range of artistic offerings that include printmaking, sculpture, photography, paintings, mixed media, fiber art, pottery, jewelry, glass art glass more.
Arts Benicia Gallery
Arts Benicia’s mission is “… to stimulate, educate, and nurture cultural life in Benicia primarily through the visual arts.” With their large space and long-time presence in the Lower Arsenal, Arts Benicia is the hub of Benicia’s art scene. Led by executive director Celeste Smeland, the organization puts on annual exhibits such as Artist Open Studios, The Art of a Community and The Next Generation exhibits, with additional juried exhibitions by member artists.
Arts Benicia also provides ongoing classes and programs to the public, including children’s programs such as Family Art Day. The organization also has outreach programs that put art into the community in three locations: Benicia city council chambers, Olson Realty and The Rellik Tavern. The gallery’s current exhibit, In the Fields: Botanical Lore, runs through December 21.
991 Tyler Street Ste. 114
Wed-Sun 12—5pm during exhibitions
Moving from their previous Arsenal location in 2017, HQ Gallery found a new home on First Street near the waterfront. HQ has found a niche in welcoming established and emerging artists, with one artist per style, though currently there is a waiting list for new members. With 25 member artists, the gallery does not have a featured artist of the month, but it does hold special events including the annual Plein Air Paint Out.
333 First Street, suite DThurs-Sun 12—6pm
Mar.-Oct.; 11am—5pm Nov.-Feb.
A contemporary fine art space, Gallery 621 is also just steps from the waterfront; neighbors with the Plein Air and HQ Galleries. Member artists who have had long-time studio practices produce fine art paintings, sculpture and more. The gallery features member artists most months, with artist receptions open to the public.
309 First St.
Thurs. 12—3pm, Fri.-Sun. 12—6pm
Plein Air Gallery
This small gallery oozes downtown charm. Painting outdoors, artists find plenty of inspiring scenes in which to capture the light. Member artists paint nature as they see it, moving their brushes quickly to record a moment in time. Scenic offerings from Northern California can be viewed here, including Benicia’s many beloved vistas and surrounding towns, from capturing the sun setting over the Strait and quaint Victorian homes to bucolic hillsides and ocean waves.
307 First Street
Spring/Summer: Thurs-Sun 12—6pm
Fall/Winter: Thurs-Sun 11am—5pm or by appt.
Jen Tough Gallery
With two locations in the Lower Arsenal, Jen Tough displays contemporary art in a light-filled space at its main gallery, and nearby, an additional gallery and project space. Starting in Vallejo, the gallery relocated to Benicia in 2016, and opened a second space this year. Gallery members are mostly emerging and mid-career female artists.
942 Tyler Street, Suite E
Fri 1—6pm, Sat 12—7pm, Sun 12—5pm; Mon by appt.
Benicia Public Library Gallery
The Marilyn Citron O’Rourke Gallery is just inside and to the right of the library’s main entrance. This gallery showcases rotating art exhibits that are always interesting and engaging. Works from Benicia artists as well as those from around the country are shown in the light-filled, galley-like space, with a wide range of artistic styles as well as special exhibits.
150 East L Street
Mon-Thurs 10am—9pm; Fri-Sun 12—6pm
Lindsay Art Glass Studio and Gallery
This colorful gallery showcases the work of David Lindsay, and is filled with art glass, hand-blown on site, in its many forms including holiday ornaments, lamps, vases, bowls, platters, paperweights and more, plus jewelry and accessories. In addition to Lindsay’s work, the gallery also represents more than 25 American craft artists.
109 East F Street
Sun-Thurs 11am—5pm, Fri 11am—7pm, Sat 10am—7pm
Milinda Perry Gallery
Benicia and Northern California artist works are shown at the Milinda Perry Gallery just off First Street on East F Street, and shares space with an upscale salon. New exhibits occur every six weeks, each with artist receptions that are open to the public. Works primarily include paintings and photography.
117 East F Street
Arata Art Gallery
Benicia’s newest art gallery is moving to First Street. Owners Geri (Arata) Pruett and John Pruett will welcome the public to a soft opening Nov. 24, followed by a “sneak peek” grand opening celebration with wine and nibbles, and will feature one piece of work from each of 25 member artists. The event will take place January 12, 2019, 11am—5pm.
637 First Street
Thurs-Sat 11—5, Sun 1—5pm