The Point Reyes National Seashore is known as a refuge for those who are looking to escape the chaos and calamity of everyday life. Within the expanse of the park, you get the serenity of green trees and shrubs on the hills and the calming magic of the ocean that stretches out forever, so a stay at HI Point Reyes hostel feels like a soul-cleansing retreat. With all this nature for inspiration, it makes sense that the little nearby town of Point Reyes Station is also quite the haven for artists.
Take a look at this quick list of ways to get arty in Point Reyes, and get planning for a few days of pretty pictures in the wilderness.
Gallery Route One
Gallery Route One is not only an exhibition space for local and visiting artists: the non-profit organization also supports the community with projects for both young and older residents. Located on Point Reyes Station’s main stretch along Highway 1, the self-described alternative art gallery has regular exhibits featuring works in all media, from photographs and still lifes, to sculptures and epic installations, and also hosts a variety of events. Every year, Gallery Route One hosts a fundraiser called the Box Show, where 150 artists receive a pine box that is to be incorporated into a final piece of art and enthusiasts get to bid on their favorite one.
More info: The gallery is open every day except Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Every year for Memorial Day and Thanksgiving weekends, artists in the Point Reyes community open up their studios for guests to come appreciate some work, learn about the artistic process and sometimes even take a piece of art home during the Open Studios event. Art lovers follow a route that takes them through scenic, less-traveled roads in the area through Inverness Ridge, Tomales Bay and Point Reyes Station itself while popping into the studios of local sculptors, potters, painters, photographers and print makers. Maps are available at most stores in Point Reyes Station. This event is a favorite of Bay Area art fans because of the opportunity to explore the beautiful rural area while getting a glimpse of artists’ interpretations of local life.
More info: Open Studios takes place every Memorial Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend. The studios are usually open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from the Saturday to the Monday.
Ink Paper Plate
If you’re more of a doer than an observer, you may want to take your inspiration from all there is to see at Point Reyes and drop into a workshop at Ink Paper Plate, another gem on Highway 1. The gallery and studio features art at good prices and also offers the opportunity to create your own masterpiece at regular workshops, like Printing on Fabric 101, poster and greeting card printing, and bookbinding, all led by local artist Sirima Sataman. Why not make your own postcards to send home instead of buying them, or make a memento to proudly hang at home and remind you of your visit?
More info: Booking and class information is available on the Ink Paper Plate website.
Toby’s Feed Barn
The name Toby’s Feed Barn might not jump out when you think of quality art, but this is, in fact, another great spot to check out the work of local artists. The gallery, which is behind the store that sells organic produce, housewares, and, yes, animal feed, hosts exhibits featuring artists from West Marin, with each month bringing a new show to the barn. There are often opening receptions at the start of each run, so if you’re in the area, stop by to interact with the locals and meet the artists.
More info: The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Create Your Own Masterpiece
From the flowers and plants surrounding HI Point Reyes, to the birds and wildlife lurking on the hiking trails and the scenic vistas of the hills and the ocean, there is plenty of fodder for the budding or seasoned artists visiting the park. Bring a camera to capture the magic of the “golden hour” just before sunset or the moody greys on cloudy days, which will make for excellent, ultra-artistic black-and-white shots. Park at a pretty point to sketch what you see, or try bringing a canvas and some paints and letting your imagination loose on the white space. The beauty of art is that you can create it solo or with companions, and no matter what you choose, it’s a good way to get in touch with your soul.
How do you plan to get arty in Point Reyes?