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Best Galleries in Orange County

By: Cityseeker
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Grand Central Art Center

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.

Santa Ana, CA, United States
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Nomadic Image

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.

Santa Ana, CA, United States
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The ARTery

The ARTery is comprised of three shipping containers arranged end to end, the drab industrial exterior belying the funky local artwork housed inside. Focusing exclusively on works produced by the artsy denizens of the surrounding area, contemporary designs and techniques enjoy a steady stream of bohemian gallery hoppers from the adjacent Lab Anti-Mall. Several charity and outreach events are held at ARTery on a regular basis, meaning your visit can contribute to the gallery's mission of community involvement.

Costa Mesa, CA, United States
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Orange County Museum of Art

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.

Newport Beach, CA, United States
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Magoski Arts Colony

Magoski Arts Colony is a collective of artists that bring together a wide range of work in this remarkable gallery. The artwork is unique and the style changes from artist to artist, ensuring you'll find a painting that perfectly matches your taste. Take a look around and you may find an affordable piece of art from an up-and-coming artist. Magoski Arts Colonyis open during the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk or you can schedule an appointment to view the collection.

Fullerton, CA, United States
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Peter Blake Gallery

The gallery here showcases modern and contemporary art by both established and up-and-coming artists. Artists include Peter Alexander, Tony Berlant, Joe Goode, Michelle Fierro, Dennis Eckstrom, Robert Graham, Charles Arnoldi, Edward Giardina, Tom Wudl, Sharon Ryan, Ed Moses, David Lloyd and Dennis Hollingsworth. The art is often daring and experimental, and it is a welcome change from the average gallery fare.

Laguna Beach, CA, United States
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Wyland Galleries

While in Laguna Beach, be sure to visit the oceanfront gallery of Wyland, an artist well-known for his paintings of marine life. Nicknamed the "Marine Michelangelo," the first thing you'll be amazed by is the variety of mediums used in his art. Murals are seen on the exterior walls while bronze sculptures loom over the front entrance. The inside overflows with even more: Lucite sculptures, acrylic sculptures, oil paintings, abstract art, brush art, photographs, bronze tables, portholes and mirrors.

Laguna Beach, CA, United States
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