Since 1961, Gualala Arts has served Sonoma and Mendocino County coastal residents and visitors with year-round programs of art, music, theater and education. With a budget around $700,000, Gualala Arts operates with 14 members on the board of directors, an executive director, office, operations and events managers, public relations coordinator, Dolphin Gallery manager, and hundreds of dedicated volunteers.
Gualala was vastly different in the early 1950s. The Gualala Hotel was the only place to stay and eat in this little lumber town. There were no motels, gas stations, or supermarkets. There were four sawmills, a general store, four bars and about 300 people. There were no art galleries.
After the sawmills closed in the 1960s, people drawn by the natural beauty of the area began to settle here, many of them creative, imaginative and artistic. They opened art galleries and staged musicals, plays and other artistic events. Gualala, and these people, attracted other creative and artistic people. Gualala became recognized as a center for individuals who enjoy many forms of the arts.
In 1961, Gualala Arts was formed as a non-profit organization. Since then, it has become a vibrant and active arts association supporting a variety of programs for both residents and visitors to the area.
Gualala Arts regularly holds art exhibits and gallery shows both at the Dolphin Gallery and at the Gualala Arts Center. On the third weekend in August each year, we present one of the most prestigious art exhibitions in northern California – the Art in the Redwoods Festival.
We give scholarships to local high school seniors each year, and provide concerts, plays, and art classes within the public schools, using our abilities to fill in where public school funding is limited.