Today we will be covering everything we know about art in San Diego in great detail. Galleries, museums, supplies, schools, shows, events and more will all be covered thoroughly right here.
We will begin by diving into the best San Diego Art Galleries and Museums where you can see some of the finest exhibitions and collections the city has to offer. Up next we will let you know where you can find all of the supplies you need at some of the best art stores near you.
Shows and events that are held annually or more frequently will be the topic of our next section. Art walking tours can be a great way to see a variety of styles in a short amount of time, plus we will mention where you can see some of the coolest sculptures in the city.
Local art classes and lessons will need to get their own section and there are plenty of classes for both kids and adults that are available. There may be some reading who are past the lessons stage need so we will tell you where you can find art studios for rent in your area as well.
And our final section will list the best shops for framing around town. Be sure to check out our local area map at the end to help figure out where all of these places are, and if you want to check out our other posts on cities around the Southwest just click here.
Best Art Galleries & Museums In San Diego
If you want to visit the best art galleries and museums in San Diego you can go to:
- The San Diego Museum of Art at 1450 El Prado
- Museum Of Contemporary Art San Diego at 1100 Kettner Blvd
- Space 4 Art at 340 16th St
- Timken Museum of Art at 1500 El Prado
- Mingei International Museum at 1439 El Prado
- Visions Art Museum at 2825 Dewey Rd
- Quint Gallery at 7722 Girard Ave
- Sparks Gallery at 530 6th Ave
- The Southwestern College Art Gallery at 900 Otay Lakes Rd, Chula Vista
- South Bayfront Artists at 604 Marina Pkwy, Chula Vista
- Carlsbad Oceanside Art League at 300 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad
- Seacoast Gallery at 5617 Paseo Del Norte #132, Carlsbad
On February 28, 1926 the San Diego Museum of Art formally opened its doors and the property was given to the city to be owned and maintained. They are closed Wednesday but open from 10am to 5pm the rest of the week except Sunday when they open at noon.
The collection of the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art has around 4,700 works created in several mediums and genres including painting, photography and sculpture that you can check out from 10am to 4pm Thursday through Sunday.
Space 4 Art is a complex of 36,000 square meters that is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm on weekdays and that offers a gathering space for community, cheap work and a live/work environment that can accommodate more than 50 artists, galleries, seminars, a wood/metal shop and a permanent open-air amphitheater.
In 1951 the foundation of the Timken Museum was laid and you can see all they have to offer from 10am to 5pm Wednesday through Sunday. According to experts Timken is some of the greatest proof that some of San Diego’s most talented are contemporary and it is a famous example of a trend after World War II to build modern buildings for old art in your area.
Created by nameless craftsmen in the ancient world and traditional civilizations in the past and the present as well as by historical and contemporary designers the Mingei International Museum gathers, preserves, and shows art of daily use. They have more than 26,000 artifacts collected from all over the world and are open to the public from 10am to 5pm most days but they close at 8pm on Thursday and Friday.
Visual Art Museum Quilts + Textiles is an international non-profit organization committed to art and textiles near you and they are open from 10am to 4pm Wednesday through Saturday.
During the 40 years of existence Quint Gallery has presented more than 250 exhibits and they are open from 11am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday. 13 local galleries which includes venues in BayHo, Mission Hills, Miramar, downtown, and La Jolla have been constructed with an international reputation for displaying modern art.
Sparks Gallery displays and sells contemporary works mostly from artists from southern California that innovate in a range of media and give a superior craft. Sparks Gallery presents collective exhibits, curated gallery owner shows by Sonya Sparks, and individual exhibitions from noon to 7pm on weekdays, 11am to 7pm on Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.
The Art Gallery of the Southwestern College is an educational location meant to engage their students and neighboring communities to enhance their personal, historical, and artistic meaning. The 2,000 square foot gallery space was based after the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City and was completed in 1969 with 11″ high walls, electric outlets inside the floor, and a suspended modular square grid with moved walls and lighting inserts. Give them a look from 10:30am to 2:30pm Monday through Thursday.
South Bayfront Artists is a collaborative of around 40 artists from Southern San Diego that was established to help local artists by finding workplaces and staging exhibits in Chula Vista and its surrounding countryside in 2011 as a non-commercial organization. They have a small gallery that is open from noon to 4pm Tuesday through Saturday and each month features another artist while their hallmark exhibition on the Chula Vista Bayfront is a spring juried art exhibition and market.
In 1951 a little group of young and experienced artists founded the North Coastal Art Gallery (NCAG) which promotes art education and cultural value in the community. NCAG’s main aim is to provide services of a public rather than a private interest and to support student bursary programs, outdoor exhibits, art shows, art seminars and workshops, cultural tours, and a central gallery.
In Carlsbad the Seacoast Gallery is open from 11am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday and you will find them close to the shore featuring limited editions and original photographic works and glass of fine art.
Materials & Supplies Near You
There are quite a few stores to buy art supplies and materials in your area like:
- Visual at 3776 30th St
- Mclogan Supply at 7879 B Armour St
- Giant Canvas Company at 8871 Balboa Ave
- The Brush Guys at 4901 Morena Blvd
- Artist & Craftsman Supply San Diego at 3804 4th Ave
- Blick Art Materials at 1844 India St
- Royal Design Studio Stencils at 1670 Industrial Blvd, Chula Vista
- Michaels at 1242 Broadway, Chula Vista
- Pintar Art Supplies at 1902 Wright Pl, Carlsbad
Visual is an independent locally owned art materials retail shop founded in 2009 that has become a platform for contemporary underground urban artists.
Two Southern Californians with over 60 years of experience working in art and office supplies sales and management have created the Brush Guys.
Since its first launch in Yarmouth, Maine in 1985 Artist & Craftsman supplies artists with good materials at affordable costs at more than 20 sites around the country.
In Little Italy Blick sells a large range of good quality art products, crafts, and unusual gift goods.
Royal Design Studio is the industry leader in the quality design of walls, decorative tools, and techniques for decoration, education resources. and a leading stencil designer and production company for professional painters, interior designers, and home designers.
You probably already know what chain stores like the Michaels near you have to offer.
Pintar Art Supplies offers excellent acrylic and oil painting pens of the best quality.
Shows & Events
Some of the best shows and events held here are:
- South Bayfront Artists Virtual Art Show in the Spring
- Art in the Village in the Summer
- San Diego Festival of Arts in September
South Bayfront Artists is a collaborative group of around 40 creators that has grouped things into four categories: 2D, 3D, digital/photo, and a 4th topic that changes. Much of the art is sold and you may buy it straight from the artist or perhaps discover another piece that catches your eye.
Carlsbad has held a one-day free open-air display called Art in the Village since 1998 including outstanding artists from throughout the region and all works are judged and on the day of the event you can talk with the artists at their stands.
The San Diego Arts Festival features over 150 expert artists, world-class live and entertaining music, wine, artisan drinks and cocktails, and a range of specialties that make for a great time. Since 1987 this major fundraiser has raised $2.7 million.
Art Dealers & Appraisers
When you need help with buying, selling, or valuing a piece contact these local art dealers and appraiser:
- Adelman Fine Art at 1980 Kettner Blvd #40
- Ashton Gallery at 4434 30th St
- Meyer Fine Art Inc at 2400 Kettner Blvd #104
- Arredon Art at 237 Spruce St #B
- Wyland Galleries at 855 W Harbor Dr #52
- Susan Fielder Art at 7836 Santaluz Inlet
- Alexander Salazar Fine Art at 71 W San Miguel Dr, Chula Vista
- Front Porch Gallery at 2903 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad
- The Art of Santos at 2350 Camino Vida Roble, Carlsbad
Adelman Fine Art is a modern boutique gallery in your area that is happy to represent some of the greatest art in the Southwest in a high-end environment with no pressure.
In the trendy Art & Culture District of North Park the Ashton Gallery features a major component of the busy Art on the 30th Art Centre. It began off with Kate Ashton who is an artist/teacher/mentor and an active part of the local arts scene since 2001.
Perry Meyer launched a public gallery Meyer Fine Art in June 2006 in the Art and Design District of Little Italy in the historic Studio Arts Building on Kettner Blvd with a sharp eye and a knowledge he has earned from his age-old love and enthusiasm for graphics and paper works.
A collection of outstanding artists who work in the fields of painting, sculpture, printing, design, and mixed media can be found at Arredon Art.
Each of their Wyland Galleries from Hawaii to Florida give a unique opportunity to see the incredible underwater world of art in Wyland in a pleasant and friendly setting. You will find classic artwork, original works you have never before seen and pleasant and know-how advisors from Wyland in every spot to assist you select the right work of art for years.
Susan Fielder Art delivers within 48 hours and has a 30-day money-back guarantee while you may select and purchase your favorite designs as linen prints, prints of art, posters, framed prints, metal prints, and many more options.
An art consultant and art courier with 20 years of experience can be found at Alexander Fine Art.
Front Porch Gallery is a community resource for the creation of dynamic and active art communities.
The Art of Santos is a virtual link to the lives of the Honduran artist living in the United States, the Art of Santos, Santos Orellana, and a one-stop store for urban art items.
Sparks Gallery and South Bayfront Artists from our initial best galleries near you list also sell art.
If you are reading this on a sunny day why not go on an art walking tour at:
- Artwalks Tours at Veltz Fine Arts, 2730 Historic Decatur Rd
- Greetings from San Diego Mural at 4225 30th St
- Arts District Liberty Station at 2825 Dewey Rd
- Carlsbad Village at 2740 State St, Carlsbad
Each ArtWalks Tours excursion is unique and gives the guide, subject matter, and participants an interesting, passionate, expressive experience.
Greetings Tour shows off the local landmarks, history, and the culture of your area with style via public art.
The Art District is a great place to explore because you never know what you might see next.
As you will find out soon Balboa Park is another great place to walk around.
Sculptures & Statues
These sculptures and statues in your area can be great places to take a selfie:
- May S Marcy Sculpture Court & Garden at 1450 El Prado
- Guardian of Water at N Harbor Dr
- San Diego Sculptors Guild at 1770 Village Pl #36
- El Cid Campeador Statue at Balboa Park
- Breaking the Chains at 301 1st Ave
- Lynn Forbes Sculpture at 300 Carlsbad Village Dr #102, Carlsbad
- Carlsbad Sculpture Garden at 2955 Elmwood St, Carlsbad
Located beside San Diego Museum of Art’s West Wing in Balboa Park the May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden has some great contemporary sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Guardian of Water was a federal work art project presented to Helen M. Towle by the Society of Fine Arts in 1939.
In the lovely Balboa Park there is a first-class artists’ gallery and studio. The courtyard and gallery were formerly a theater and San Diego Sculptors Guild is available to the public and showcases foreign sculptors’ works of art.
The El Cid Campeador Statue near you commemorates Anna Hyatt Huntington’s medieval hero of the 11th century and is situated on the Plaza de Panama entrance.
Breaking of the Chains was created in 1995 by Melvin Edwards.
The entrance to the Carlsbad Sculpture Garden is located just east of the Smerdu Community Garden on Laguna Drive.
San Diego Art Classes
At the best San Diego art schools you can usually take private lessons or group classes for kids, teens, and adults:
- Art Academy of San Diego at 3784 30th St
- Prima Materia Art Institute at 3350 Sports Arena Blvd
- San Diego Art Loft at 3421 Tripp Ct
- Drawn2Art San Diego at 13173-10 Black Mountain Rd
- Monart School of Art at 2590 Truxtun Rd #204
- Art Houz Studio at 871 Harold Pl, Chula Vista
- Mcart Studio School of Art at 3138 Roosevelt St, Carlsbad
- Handled Pottery Studio at 2680 State St #C, Carlsbad
You’ll discover a collective of artists with comparable objectives and interests at Prima Materia.
Drawn2Art’s focus is on the teaching of basic skills as students between 4 and 12 years of age, adolescents, and adults can start sketching and painting with media. Color mixing, painting methods, the appropriate usage, and the maintenance of supplies are the main instructions given to students.
Monart School of Art’s “Drawing with Children” is a specialized drawing method based on the best selling book aimed at teaching children how to learn in a realistic way while building confidence and developing hand-eye coordination, project planning, decisions, and problem solving.
The Art Houz Studio Gallery offers art lessons, workshops, collecting funds, and a leasing studio.
Handled Pottery Studio is located in Carlsbad Village providing handcrafted, practical food, homeware, and donations.
Studios For Rent Near You
Those of you who are ready to start a big project can find art studios in your area like:
During gallery events with open studios at Art on 30th they present the studio artists and display their work on the website while artists are welcome to entertain customers and have small events in their own private room.
A modern background for any occasion is offered by The Studio Door where you can find a genuinely unique environment for networking, workshops, and talks with its 13′ ceilings and unexpected versatility and the attraction of functioning studios.
Art studios are also available at other places we have mentioned like Space 4 Art and Art Houz Studio Gallery.
A frame can take a normal looking picture a long way, and some of the best places for art framing in San Diego are:
- J Dewers Custom Framing & Fine Arts Services at 1183 Morena Blvd
- Frame It Yourself at 5523 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
- Ray Street Custom Framing at 3807 Ray St
- Crack In the Wall Picture Frames at 3350 Sports Arena Blvd #G
- Mitschke’s Custom Framing at 11689 Sorrento Valley Rd
- Jacquez Art & Custom Framing at 274 3rd Ave, Chula Vista
- Ra Art and Custom Framing at 313 3rd Ave, Chula Vista
- South Frames Inc at 3515 Main St, Chula Vista
- East West Art & Frame at 5670 El Camino Real #L, Carlsbad
- Aaron Brothers at 3445 Via Montebello, Carlsbad
JDewers was founded as a quality workshop for art enthusiasts, galleries of fine art, professionals in arts and designs, collectors, and museums in 1980 in the Gaslamp Quarter downtown.
Frame It Yourself is a specialist store for do-it-yourself framing.
Ray Street Custom Framing began in 2007 in the North Park artists community’s cultural core.
Crack In the Wall Picture Frames provide a wide range of conventional and modern framing components to create yours at affordable rates and have over 30 years of experience in creating and using ideal display technologies to construct your presentation.
Mitschke’s Custom Framing in San Diego is a family run company that has over 40 years of local expertise and a reputation for excellence. A huge range of distinctive wood, steel, leather, and acrylic frames are offered in their big store while all framing is carried out on site using 100 percent UV protection glass and preservation materials.
Jacquez Art and Custom Framing is a team of craftsmen and designers whose framing technique is distinctive and where every frame project is unique. For 30 years they framed paintings for their clients’ memories at RA Art and Design Gallery.
South Frames offers one of the highest quality and pricing in the framework business with two family generations and more than 50 years of expertise.
East West Art & Frame produces a sort of home or workplace display project. Work on the premises and get same day service depending on product complexity.
Aaron Brothers launched its first shop in California more than 70 years ago and the success of this firm has been driven by a love for design and service as they love to inspire and advise clients.
Before we get out of here we want to mention we have also discussed:
Have Fun Enjoying The San Diego Art Scene
Well guys, we tried to cover the full art scene near you to the best of our abilities. We listed the best local galleries, museums, events, shows, supply stores, dealers, appraisers, walking tours, sculptures, classes, studios, and framers in your area.
Anyone that made it this far probably loves art as much as we do. You can let us know about any of your own local tips and tricks in the comments at the end of the post, or please also let us know if we got anything wrong or if anything we posted has become dated.
Have fun going to the galleries, museums, buying supplies or doing anything that has to do with art in San Diego!