For a relatively small town, Healdsburg has been recognized as a destination for experiencing the fine arts. The town boasts an array of dynamic galleries, outdoor exhibits and unique museums. Healdsburg’s thriving art and culture scene, much like the surrounding wine country, offers something for everyone’s palate.
The Healdsburg Center for the Arts (HCA) was formed to advance art education in the community and to support artists creating opportunities for them to show their work. Whether it be a poet, a painter or a performer, the HCA has expanded their programs to include mentoring programs, art instruction, summer art camp and their popular Young Artist Show featuring the work from ten local elementary schools. The HCA’s passion for the artistic community reflects the diversity of fine arts that can be appreciated throughout the area.
There are more than 20 fine art and craft galleries within walking distance of the town Plaza, which was once named one of America’s Most Beautiful Town Squares. The Paul Mahder Gallery, the largest single floor gallery in California, is located inside a double Quonset hut and showcases world class contemporary art by national and internationally known artists. The three-story Erickson Fine Art Gallery exhibits paintings, sculpture and mixed media works, including a large variety of kinetic sculptures from Jerome Kirk’s personal collection. The Harris Gallery is devoted entirely to the works of painters M.C. Harris and his son A3L3XZAND3R. Aerena, which also has galleries in St. Helena, Yountville and Napa, shows the work of emerging artists across media and styles. Robert Johnson began his career as a botanical illustrator for garden books and later as a cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times. His original drawings and limited-edition prints can be found at the Bob Johnson Gallery.
The Upstairs Art Gallery carries a wide variety of paintings, crafts, handmade jewelry, glass and wood made by 16 local artists, who also collaborate to run the gallery. The Stafford Gallery celebrates the eclectic and features award-winning bronze and burl sculptures, paintings, photography and handmade glass and jewelry. The Dovetail Collection offers custom handmade furniture, uncommon home décor and art from American artists and craftsmen. J. Howell Fine Art, in the old Bank of Italy building, houses a large collection of contemporary California artists. Hammerfrier, a block away from the plaza, features original artwork by established and emerging Bay Area conceptual artists.
The Hand Fan Museum is the first museum in the country dedicated solely to hand fans. The museum’s permanent exhibit tells the story of cultures and histories of people around the world where hand fans were used in fashion, religion, battle and everyday life. The Healdsburg Museum & Historical Society is the keeper of the town’s rich history, from photographs and documents to unique exhibits. Past exhibitions have included the Wine Roots of Healdsburg and Pomo & Pioneers: Early Healdsburg History.
A drink or meal at one of Healdsburg’s incredible restaurants or tasting rooms is the perfect complement to a day of strolling through the area galleries and museums. The Gallery Bar at Barndiva is a fantastic place to enjoy a curated selection of artisanal spirits and award winning wine while checking out the collection of art, textiles, sculptures and antiques. The Hawley Winery Tasting Room and Gallery pours limited production, hand crafted wines among original artwork by Dana Hawley and furniture crafted by winemaker Austin Hawley.
The Plaza is not only home to traditional galleries, but you can find the work of many local makers and artisans in the shops along the perimeter. Jewelry, collectibles and locally made items are both one-of-a-kind and accessible, making great souvenirs or gifts to commemorate your time in Healdsburg.