Art in Sonoma County: Current Gallery and Museum Exhibitions in May 2021

Sonoma County has been a magnet for artists and art connoisseurs for many decades, and continues to attract sophisticated artists and art collectors, along with casual art lovers. Combined with the sheer natural beauty, and general creative ambience, the area readily entices visitors, as well as long-time residents, to explore the many and varied fine art offerings. With the addition of great food, drink, and outdoor activities, it’s easy to spend a day, a week, or a lifetime traversing through the vineyards, forests, and rolling hills, along the scenic coast, and through the welcoming towns of Sonoma County.

The following is a partial list of local art exhibitions. Many eateries, wineries, and civic buildings also present changing art shows in their spaces.

*** Designates an Opening Reception.

Many galleries, art centers, and museums have opened to in-person visits. Please check with the venues for current status of protocols, hours, events and exhibitions.

by Mark Zukowski

Arts Guild of Sonoma
Through May 31, Celebrating Art and Expression!
BJ Bec, Katerina Capetanos, Kirk Economos, Irene Ehret, Zaza Fetterly, Paul Ford, Peggy Francis, Laura Lee Fritz, Christine Gonzalves, Howard Hardie, Kirk Hinshaw, Nancy Martin, Marty Munson, Pat Meier Johnson, Helen Mehl, Julia Pozsgai, Lyn Swan, Jennifer Whitfield, Norm Worth, and Mark Zukowski.
140 East Napa Street, Sonoma


Nocturne #2 by Hassel Smith

Calabi Gallery
Through May 28, Bay Area Figurative Expressionism of the 20th Century
The exhibition is an exploration of modernistic figurative art in the era of Abstract Expressionism. Forms are often extremely abstracted, yet clearly alluding to the human figure, animals, objects, or places. The intent is often to depict a feeling or an idea rather than the representation of physical reality.
May 29 through July 31, Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss
Group show of artists portraying diverse responses to environmental issues. Related programs and events will take place during the exhibition.
456 Tenth St., Santa Rosa


Charles M. Schulz Museum
The Museum is now open to visitors.
Current Online Exhibition: Hidden Treasures: Unseen Originals from the Collection
Peek into the pillars of Peanuts through more than 65 original comic strips by Charles M. Schulz. View Schulz’s pen strokes, margin notes, and other fine details. Listen to behind-the-scenes commentary from Jean Schulz (wife of Charles M. Schulz); Benjamin L. Clark (Museum Curator); and Alexis Fajardo (Editorial Director) and Justin Thompson (Senior Artist) from Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates.

Through September 12, 2021, Lucy! Fussbudget to Feminist
2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa

Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery
All programs and the gallery are closed until further notice.
204 N. Cloverdale Boulevard, Cloverdale

Cloverdale Sculpture Trail
Through April 27, 2022, Cloverdale Sculpture Trail
Ten new sculptures have been installed along the Cloverdale Sculpture Trail in downtown Cloverdale after a 3 month delay due to COVID-19. Cloverdale Boulevard between Citrus Fair Drive and 3rd Street is lined with an array of playful and provocative sculptures. What better way to spark our Imagination than with this impressive exhibit of public art? The current Trail will be available for viewing until April, 2022. For sculpture locations, download a map of the walkable Sculpture Trail.

Corricks Art Trails Gallery/ My Daughter the Framer
May 7 through June 26, Art at the Source
Preview Exhibition for 2021 Open Studios.
637 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa


By Sally Baker

Fulton Crossing Gallery
Through May 31, Transparency Matters
In the past year and a half, painter, Sally Baker, has been exploring the effects of light through transparent objects. Observing refraction through glass has been an exciting challenge.
1200 River Road, Fulton



Gallery 300
6780 McKinley St., Suite 130, The Barlow

Graton Gallery
Through May 23, Point-CounterPoint
Featuring Partner Artists, Sally Baker and Rik Olson, with Guests Artists, Harry Frank, Nancy Ricciardi, Edward Thompson, and Maggie Valenquela. Also on view; Sebastopol Art Center Open Studio Artists Collaborative Show!
9048 Graton Road, Graton

Hammerfriar Gallery
132 Mill Street, Ste.101, Healdsburg

By Melinda Cootsona

Healdsburg Center for the Arts
May 1 through June 13, Unprecedented
2020 was an unprecedented year worldwide marked by a pandemic, as well as cultural, political and racial divisions. See how these rapid changing events have influenced some of our local artists.
130 Plaza Street, Healdsburg




IceHouse Gallery
405 East D St, Petaluma

Laguna Foundation, Heron Hall
900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa

Museum of Sonoma County
Through October 31, 2021
35: Thirty-Five Artists for Thirty-Five Years
Curated by Jeff Nathanson, on the occasion of the Museum’s thirty-fifth anniversary, the exhibition presents a sampling of artworks from the Museums art collection. Over the years, the MSC collection has grown to include artworks ranging from works on paper, to photographs, paintings, sculpture, ceramics and crafts, spanning over a century of art-making, from the 19th to the 21st Century. With this in mind, the artworks selected for 35: Thirty-Five Artists for Thirty-Five Years explore a broad range of media and styles. Of particular interest are themes that are recurring in MSC’s collecting practices, such as landscape and the environment, social commentary, mixed media experimentation, and abstraction.

May 1, Ongoing, The Portal Service
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jessica Rasmussen, Anna Wiziarde, and Julian Billotte opened the first known Portal in Courthouse Square; a gilded mailbox, for letters to the past or future. A small sample of these letters is viewable in this exhibit. Towards the end of the project, the Portal Service was astonished to receive a cease and desist from the United States Postal Service. It was for infringement on USPS intellectual property, i.e.: the similarity of the name and the shape of the iconic collection box.

May 1, Ongoing, Go Big or Go Home: Taking Measure of Sonoma County’s Past
Does size matter? When you are making history it does! From agriculture, to transportation, to architecture, big stuff has big things to say about history. From giant tools, to a massive winery door, to a long Russian River canoe, to a surrey with a fringe on top; take a journey through the world of BIG THINGS and the stories they have to tell about Sonoma County.
425 Seventh Street, Santa Rosa


By Beth Anderson

Occidental Center for the Arts
Through May 29, Keep On Truckin’
All-media juried exhibit centered on a theme that depicts perseverance amidst challenge and adversity. Sonoma County artists.
3850 Doris Murphy Court, Occidental





By Lisa R. Fredenthal-Lee

Paul Mahder Gallery
Through June 13, Cut, Snipped, Torn and Pasted
Envelope Collage by Lisa R. Fredenthal-Lee. With a lifelong love, and respect for castoff materials, Lisa is inspired by this common throwaway: the Envelope. Gallery is open limited hours and by appointment. Easy social distancing in the large gallery. Please wear a mask for entry.
222 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg




Petaluma Arts Center
Through May 15, 2021, Pianos of Petaluma
On view are over two-dozen street pianos collected together for the first time at PAC! Also showing; Members Exhibition! and Celebrating Family.
230 Lakeville Street, Petaluma



Ren Brown Collection Gallery
Housed in a refurbished building with shoji and a small, serene Japanese garden, the gallery shows contemporary art by Japanese and regional Northern California artists.
1781 Coast Highway One, Bodega Bay

By Anne Monk

Riverfront Art Gallery
May 6 through July 5, Tuesday’s In the Garden
Three artists, Christine Church, Bev Haley, and Anne Monk, who regularly paint together, are featured in this show and represent considerable diversity and style.
132 Petaluma Boulevard North, Petaluma




Santa Rosa Arts Center
May 6 through June 26, Just Flowers: Rebirth through Art
*** Opening reception Friday, May 7, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Flowers are a visual renewal of life. Their beauty testifies to the rebirth of nature after the dark days of winter.
SOFA Arts District
312 South A Street, Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Junior College, Robert F. Agrella Art Gallery
The Robert F. Agrella Gallery is hosting an online Artist Lecture Series. These lectures are all free and open to the public. Go to the website for schedule and to register.
1501 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa

Sculpturesite, Glen Ellen
Step Into Spring: Tobin / Shaffer / Gustavson / Pisapia
This on-line exhibition features playful and more serious sculptures that will help you enjoy the new season in your home and garden even more! Our indoor space is now closed, but our outdoor SculptureWALK exhibition can still be viewed 7 days a week.
14301 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen

Sebastopol Center for the Arts
Through May 9, Favorite Things: Trees
All work that was submitted is featured in the online gallery as we celebrate the fascinating subject of trees.

May 22 through June 13, Art at the Source
*** Opening reception, May 22, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Preview Exhibition for 2021 Open Studios.
282 High Street, Sebastopol

Sebastopol Gallery
150 N. Main St, Sebastopol

Sebastopol Library Forum Room
7140 Bodega Avenue, Sebastopol

By Emily McCauley

Sonoma State University, University Art Gallery
Through May 23, BFA Exhibition 2021, Opens online
BFA Exhibition 2021 features the works of this year’s students who are graduating with their BFA degrees. One of the highlights of the University Art Gallery’s annual program is the presentation of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Exhibition, which is a culminating capstone and high point in the BFA students’ studies in the Art & Art History Department at SSU.
1801 East Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park


Sonoma Valley Museum of Art
Extended through May 30, Ed Ruscha: Travel Log
The exhibition will be open to the public as soon as allowed. and features prints and photographs by world renowned artist Ed Ruscha. Rarely seen black and white photographs from Ruscha’s frequent trips from L.A. to Oklahoma in the 1960s reveal inspirations for his iconic prints and paintings, including images of gas stations, diners and the streets of rural towns. Also featured are color lithographs from his well-known “word paintings” series that mix visual formality with playful language.

By Catherine Daley

May 4 through October 19, A Delicate Balance
Public Art Exhibition in Sonoma Plaza.
The exhibition features sculptures by four outstanding artists from diverse backgrounds—Bruce Beasley, Catherine Daley, Peter Hassen, and Jun Kaneko. The eight large-scale public sculptures will be installed in the Sonoma Plaza and viewed by local residents as well as thousands of visitors. Comprised of abstract and representational sculptures in metal, granite, and plexiglass, the work explores the balance between nature and technology, fragile and solid, humankind and science. Viewers are also reminded of the delicate balance of life, as we consider how our world has changed over the past year.
551 Broadway, Sonoma


By Beverly Bird

Upstairs Art Gallery
Through May 30, Places From The Heart
Artist, Beverly Bird, presents a collection of paintings depicting the artist’s favorite locales around the globe. No ticket needed for this trip to France, the Caribbean and West Coast highlights. Cityscapes and local denizens help the viewer savor the unique character of these places. Meet the Artist: Beverly Bird will host the gallery May 15 and May 29.
The Small Works Showcase on the stairway features Karen Miller’s Brighter Days, a collection of small pastel paintings marking spring and renewal. Responding to sunshine and wildflowers, the artist searched for mustard vistas and signs of spring to capture in pastel.
306 Center Street, Healdsburg

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About Satri Pencak

Independent Curator, art writer
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