A haven for artists for more than a century, Carmel-by-the-Sea remains a strong draw for art enthusiasts who comb the Central California village, where nearly 100 galleries can be explored. The months of April and May are an especially attractive time to visit, stay in downtown inns and enjoy the 22nd annual Carmel Art Festival, along with other special exhibits.
Also, it’s never been easier to get to Carmel-by-the-Sea from almost anywhere on the West Coast, as Monterey Regional Airport (MRY) is within a 10-minute drive.
Here is a closer look at the upcoming special events:
• The Carmel Art Festival is scheduled for Thursday, May 14 to Sunday, May 17 highlighted by a Plein Air juried panting competition, silent auction and art sale. The prime venue for the Festival, a free event designed to educate and inspire people of all ages about the visual arts, is on Mission Street between Ocean and Sixth avenues. Saturday’s schedule begins at 8 a.m., with the judging of Plein Air paintings, and continues through 9 p.m. when many of the new paintings will be up for sale.
Many galleries in Carmel-by-the-Sea schedule their own shows and receptions, as well as painting and sculpture demonstrations, to coincide with the Festival. A complete lineup of 2015 Festival events is available at www.carmelartfestivalcalifornia.com.
• The Cherry Center for the Arts will be celebrating the bond between Carmel-by-the-Sea and one of San Francisco’s most prominent landmarks, Coit Tower, in a special April exhibit. “Coit Tower-The Carmel Connection” will feature photography, art and sculpture in the Cherry Gallery with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 17.
After Coit Tower’s completion in the early 1930s, a group of 25 artists were engaged to paint murals on its interior walls. Not surprisingly, several of those artists had ties to Carmel, including three who would become full-time residents: Col. Harold Mack, who was appointed by the federal government to monitor the project, as well as Maxine Albro and Parker Hall, who went on to marry in 1938 and settle in the village. Albro was later commissioned to paint a Bavarian-themed mural at Hofsas House, a downtown Carmel inn.
The Cherry Foundation is presenting the exhibit now to celebrate the recently completed rehabilitation and restoration of the 80-year-old Coit Tower murals. The exhibit can be viewed at the Cherry Gallery, Guadalupe Street and Fourth Avenue, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, from April 20 to May 22 (also by appointment).
• The Carmel Art Association, a non-profit organization founded in 1927 that is the second oldest art cooperative in the country, features the work of more than 100 professional local artists. Among the art shows scheduled this spring includes exhibiting the works of Guenevere Schwien and Jan Wagstaff. Schwien presents new work, oil on wood panel, stretching across several inspirations, including flowers, bows and bubbles. Wagstaff explores nuances of the natural world while “looking at water” on her large format oil-on-canvas paintings. An opening reception is set from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 4.
The Carmel Art Association’s gallery, located on Dolores Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.