For many years, the town of Bolinas had the reputation of not welcoming outsiders. Locals would remove the green directional sign from Highway 1 and town residents gave outsiders the cold shoulder. However, a recent visit gave me the impression that there is a more open attitude in town, and that many are pleased to show off their history, art and way of life.
One of the coolest ways to learn about Bolinas’s really interesting history and art culture is at the Bolinas Museum, which they proudly call “the premier fine arts museum in Marin County”. It is a really good art museum, on a very intimate scale.
They’ve taken a group of about five old buildings and renovated them into very high quality gallery spaces, opening onto two connecting courtyards. Three of the galleries have exhibitions that change every two months, with one focusing on photography, another on regional artists, and the third on contemporary works. Then there’s the History Room and the Permanent Gallery, both of which have wonderful exhibits that provide great insights into how Bolinas came into being, why it grew and its story since then. (Hint – think San Francisco gold rush and the need for lumber.)
Also, they have live music, readings, and other performances in the Wintersteen Courtyard, as well as the opening receptions for their new exhibitions and artists every two months. Be sure to check their website’s special events section for updates.
I would definitely include Bolinas on your outing-for-a-day list, and a definite spot to bring out of town visitors. And, final note, they are now offering special spanish language tours of the museum.
Where: 48 Wharf Road, Bolinas, CA 94924 (map)
Hours: (It’s always FREE!)
Friday 1:00 – 5:00
Saturday 12:00 – 5:00
Sunday 12:00 – 5:00