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In collaboration with the city of Santa Ana, the Grand Central Art Center at Cal State Fullerton features exhibits and performances by established and emerging artists. The complex consists of live/work studios for graduate students, in addition to art galleries and a theater for performance art.
Located in historic downtown Santa Ana, Nomadic Image is far from traditional. The gallery endlessly reinvents itself with a new show every two months. Past themes include Mardi Gras and red-light districts, and they have also hosted events dedicated solely to images by point-and-shoot cameras. The space takes on a new look that is unique to each show; the walls have been black, red, covered in newspapers or adorned with chain link fencing. The ceiling has also taken on various guises, sometimes composed entirely of exposed pipes and sometimes swathed in fabric. Nomadic Image is supported by an eclectic group of photographers who take more pride in creativity than marketing. Each image, from its content and technique to its presentation, is meant to invoke thought and appreciation. The best time to visit the gallery is during the Santa Ana Art Walk, which takes place on the first Saturday evening of each month.
If you are driving south along the coast for the day from L.A., this gallery is ideally situated near the popular Fashion Island shopping center, not even a mile from the Pacific Coast Highway. The subject of much controversy among Orange County's art crowd over the past few years, the museum expanded to almost double its original size when the Newport Harbor Art Museum (same location) and the Laguna Art Museum consolidated to form this larger complex, scandalizing the art-loving Laguna Beach community. The permanent collection focuses on late 20th-century and California art, but the museum enjoys exhibitions that have included works from artists such as Rico Lebrun and Pablo Picasso. The Plein Air Café serves lunch, and a meal will earn you free admission to the museum.
Housed in the only remaining Carnegie Library building in Orange County, this museum deals both with the rich cultural history of Anaheim and of the world. The volunteers who work there value educating the younger generation about their fine city, which was founded in the mid-1850s by German winemakers who wanted to sell their product to citizens of Los Angeles. Muzeo also features rotating strange and wonderful exhibits that make this a truly fascinating museum.
The unique history and culture of surfers is a big part of the Southern California's personality. As such, the Surf Gallery pays tribute to the whole scene by featuring regular exhibitions by, for and about surfers. Photos capturing the athletes in action hang alongside oil paintings meticulously produced in the off-season by surfers both well-known and up-and-coming.