“What art offers is space — a certain breathing room for the spirit.”
If art soothes the soul, we are fortunate indeed to live in a place that’s rich with artistic abundance. The creativity flowing from Arts Benicia and the Arsenal’s rabbit-warren of artist studios has spilled over into downtown, which now boasts many galleries, collectively allowing the viewer to experience art in different mediums. What better way to spend a summer day than gallery-hopping and public art viewing, with a break in between for an alfresco lunch at one of our local eateries?
We’ve designed an art tour that can be done in whirlwind “see it all in a day” fashion, or broken into pieces to absorb over time. The tour begins at the bottom of Rose Drive, heads downtown, then to the Library, Community Center and Marina before ending at the Arts Benicia Gallery. When you need a rest, we suggest Java Point Café, which has outdoor seating, really good food, espresso drinks and a wall of local art. And for the truly art-hardy, stop in the many stores along First Street who offer wall space to local artists.
621 Gallery, 621 First St.
Plein Air Gallery, 307 First St., 745.3157, beniciapleinair.com
Studio 41, 700 First St., 745.0254, studio41.com
Lindsay Art Glass, 109 East F St., 748.1336, lindsayartglass.com
Nourot Art Glass, 675 East H St., 745.1463, nourot.com/nourotwordpress/
Smyers Art Glass, 675 East H St., 745.2614, smyersglass.com
Benicia Public Library Marilyn Citron O’Rourke Gallery, 150 East L St., 746.4343, benicialibrary.org
Bill Parsons Art Gallery, 131 First St., 925.689.8973, billparsonsart.com
Mernie Buchanan Studio & Gallery, by appointment or happenstance, 117 East D St., 745.5694, mernie.com
Arts Benicia Gallery, 991 Tyler Street Suite 114, 747.0131 artsbenicia.org
Benicia Bench, Robert Arneson, bronze, south side of the Benicia Marina
Mandala for Modern Med, Lee Roy Champagne, upstairs at the Rose Arts Medical Center, 1100 Rose Drive (pictured center)
Dicta, Sandra Shannonhouse, bronze, Benicia Public Library, 150 East L Street
Us, Alice Hager, at the entrance to the Benicia Public Library, 150 East L Street
Untitled, Gregg Renfrow, polymer, pigment on cast acrylic, Benicia Public Library, 150 East L Street (pictured bottom)
Dona Benicia’s Mantilla (envelops the General’s chair), Linda Fleming, laser-cut steel, Harbor Walk, First Street and East B Street (pictured top)
Mural Tiles, Guillermo Granizo, ceramic, along First Street in sidewalks, both sides of street
Self-Portrait Tile Walls, 1987 Mills Elementary School students, with instruction from Guillermo Granizo, Benicia Community Center (formerly Mills School), 380 East L Street, 746-4200, ci.benicia.ca.us