Travel Blog

February 27, 2019

Don’t Miss This Year’s Top Museum Exhibits

Photo by Garrick Ramirez

If you’re lucky, you have an in-the-know friend who invites you out to see the hottest new exhibits in town. For everyone else, we’ve assembled a spiffy calendar of upcoming museum and gallery shows in Santa Cruz County. Don’t fancy yourself a museum person? Don’t fret. The region offers a wide range of experiences with plenty to please nature lovers, art enthusiasts, and history buffs, plus lots of opportunities for family-fun. Here’s your monthly guide to seeing the best exhibits of 2019:

Photo courtesy of VSCC

Agricultural History Project

  • “Pets on the Farm” (Second Saturdays). On the second Saturday of each month, this indoor/outdoor museum opens to the public with a permanent collection of hands-on exhibits and monthly themes that explore the rich agricultural legacy of Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley.  Runs through December.
  • Spring 2019 Speaker Series: Features talks by members of the Pajaro Valley Agricultural Community with stories to share of the history, challenges, successes and efforts to preserve the values, culture and agricultural lifestyle that makes the Pajaro Valley such a unique and wonderful community. March 21st, April 18th, May 16th and June 13th, 2019.
Photo by Garrick Ramirez

Artisans Gallery

  • Hearts for the Arts (February 10th). Annual benefit for Santa Cruz Art Council.
  • View the works of a featured Santa Cruz sea glass artist during month of March.
  • Featured artist Peter Koronakos (July). The ABCs of animals made from found objects.

Cabrillo College Gallery

  • “Continuum & Flux: Natalya Burd and Kirk Maxson” (January 28–March 1, 2019). Opening reception & artists’ talk: Saturday, February 9, 4:00–6:00 pm.
  • Out of the Dark: Alternative Process photography (March 11–April 12, 2019).
  • Student Exhibition 2019 (April 22–May 17, 2019). Opening reception: Saturday, April 27, 4:00–6:00 pm
  • Student Exhibition 2019 (April 22–May 17, 2019). Opening reception: Saturday, April 27, 4:00–6:00 pm
Photo courtesy of Capitola Historical Museum

Capitola Historical Museum

  • “Capitola Obscura: Unusual and Little-Known Facts About Capitola History.”  (March through December, 2019). Did you know that Capitola was once owned by one person? Or that the locomotive that pulled trains through Capitola is now displayed in the Smithsonian? These are just a few of the fun, obscure facts you’ll discover at this informative exhibition.
  • “Capitola Obscura: Unusual and Little-Known Facts About Capitola History.”  (March through December, 2019).
Photo courtesy of VSCC

Mountain Arts Center

  • “Spring Into Art” (March 13-30,2019). 22nd Annual Youth Art Exhibit.
  • “Object of My Design” (April 3 – May 18, 2019). Themed Exhibit.
  • “Earth, Water, Air & Fire” (May 22 – July 13, 2019). Themed Exhibit.
  • “Flower Power!” (July 17 – September 7, 2019). Exhibit of members artwork.
  • “All Fired Up” (September 11 – 28, 2019). Themed Exhibit.
  • Featured Artist/s TBA (October 2 – 26, 2019)
  • “Home is Where the Art Is” (October 30 – December 22, 2019). Holiday exhibit & sale.
Photo courtesy of VSCC

Pajaro Valley Arts Gallery

“Vote! Your Vote, Your Voice” (April 3 – May 26, 2019)

View artifacts and stories detailing the involvement of Monterey Bay residents in historic and current voting rights struggles will educate, inspire, and promote a greater interest in the democratic process.“Sculpture IS 2019” at Sierra Azul Nursery & Garden (June 1 – October 31, 2019). A three month long installation features numerous garden sculptures in a wide variety of styles and media. All are available for viewing at no charge in a delightful demonstration garden displaying many drought tolerant, fully grown plants.

  • “Sculpture IS 2019” at Sierra Azul Nursery & Garden (June 1 – October 31, 2019). A three month long installation features numerous garden sculptures in a wide variety of styles and media. All are available for viewing at no charge in a delightful demonstration garden displaying many drought tolerant, fully grown plants.
  • “Mirrors” (June 19 – July 28, 2019). Annual membership exhibition offers an opportunity for PVA members to reflect, share and celebrate their love of art through their own original creations.
  • “Plein Air” (August 14 – September 29, 2019). Do you ever wonder what the artist you see working outdoors—alongside beaches, fields, marshes, or mountains—is creating? This exhibit celebrates the beauty and richness of our local landscape with the finished artworks of accomplished, local plein air (outside) artists.
  • “Mi Casa es Tu Casa” (October 23 – December 15, 2019). Wildly popular annual exhibit inspired by Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) features alters are created by a wide variety of local and national artists.
Photo courtesy of VSCC

Radius Gallery

  • Wynn Bullock + Robert Str (March 13 – May 5, 2019). Artist Reception: March 15, 6:00-8:00pm. Artist Talk: April 14, 2:00pm
  • New Work – Artists Represented by Radius (Sept 26 – Nov 10, 2019). Artist Reception: Sept 27, 6:00-8:00pm). Artist Talk: Sunday, Oct 20, 2:00pm
  • Small Works – The Shopping Show! (Nov 22 – Dec 22, 2019). An invitational exhibition of handmade gifts and art objects featuring the work of regional artists working in all media. Artist Reception: Nov 22, 6:00-8:00pm
Photo courtesy of San Lorenzo Valley Museum

San Lorenzo Valley Museum

  • “Pathways Through Our Parks” (January 12 – April 7, 2019). As part of a series that explores the flora and fauna of Santa Cruz’s park system, the museum presents selections from Ann Thiermann’s series of pastel and acrylic paintings.
  • Big Trees” (April 19 – November 29, 2019). Exhibit explores the natural and cultural Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park’s predecessor, Big Trees.
  • “Hello Dollies” (December 7, 2019 – January 5, 2020). Community holiday exhibition featuring dolls of the past to the present.
Photo by Garrick Ramirez

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

  • “Guided by Ghosts” by Tessa Hulls (March 1, 2019 – June 23, 2019). Experience artist Tessa Hulls Chinese ancestral story unpacked through a graphic novel in the works, comprised of paintings, graphic novel research, and illustrations.
  • “Idolos/Icons” (March 1, 2019 – January 26, 2020). Large scale fabric portraits by local Chicano photographer, Jorge Gomez-Gonzalez
  • ‘We’re Still Here: Stories of Seniors and Social Isolation” (April 4, 2019 – September 22, 2019). Step into an exhibit exploring senior isolation in Santa Cruz County via stories shared and created by local seniors and advocates.
  • Art by Justin Favela (July 5, 2019 – October 20, 2019). Native Las Vegas artist Justin Favela works in a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, and performance that references art history, popular culture and his Guatemalan/Mexican heritage.
  • “Libreria Donceles” by Pablo Helguera (August 2, 2019 – July 26, 2020). Filled with bilingual books, this participatory installation and Spanish-language bookstore was co-created with artist Pablo Helguera.
  • “30 Years After Loma Prieta” (September 6, 2019 – August 31, 2020). Check out this new pod built within the Santa Cruz County History Gallery which explores the unique role artists play in rebuilding community after disaster.
Photo courtesy of VSCC

Seymour Marine Discovery Center

  • Squidtoons! (January – October, 2019). Beautifully drawn, large-format educational comics combine fun—and weird!—science facts, kid-friendly wit, and a strong environmental message. From whale vomit to bone-eating worms, Squidtoons presents real ocean science in a series of entertaining, easy-to-understand comic panels created by artist & marine biologist Garfield Kwan.
  • “Coastal Art and Poetry” (November 2019 – January 2020). A delightfully varied collection of artwork and poetry—from whimsical to political, analytical to spiritual—that’s inspired by the California coast and created by California students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Photo by Garrick Ramirez

Santa Cruz Natural History Museum

  • The Art of Nature: (March 29-June 2, 2019). The museum’s most popular annual exhibition features a wide variety of science illustration by California artists.
  • “Trees of Coastal California” by Margaret Niven (June 2019). Part of the monthly Summer Art Series which features a local artist whose work is inspired by the natural world of the Santa Cruz region. Join us for free admission every First Friday June-August, from 5-7pm to meet the artists and view their work.
  • “Brink—The Art of Conservation” by Diana Walsworth (July 2019). Part of the monthly Summer Art Series which features a local artist whose work is inspired by the natural world of the Santa Cruz region. Join us for free admission every First Friday June-August, from 5-7pm to meet the artists and view their work.
  • “Nature in the Round and Square” by Linda Cover (August 2019). Part of the monthly Summer Art Series which features a local artist whose work is inspired by the natural world of the Santa Cruz region. Join us for free admission every First Friday June-August, from 5-7pm to meet the artists and view their work.

Photo by Garrick Ramirez

UC Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Garden

  • “The Future Gardens of the Central Coast.” A ten year long exhibit intended to inspire viewers to protect native plants and gain awareness of the effects of climate change.
  • Home Garden Tour on Saturday, April 27, 2019 10 am – 4 pm. Tickets range from $35 – $45.
  • National Public Garden Week, Monday, May 13 – May 19, 2019. Join various events and activities promoting the value of public gardens and the efforts to preserve plant diversity across the world.

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