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Art-full Mendocino: visit studios, tour galleries, take a course.

Beautiful views and charming shops may be Mendocino's mainstays, but the city is almost as famous for its art and crafts. On the Pacific coast 3 1/2 hours north of San Francisco, excellent galleries offer one-of-a-kind works, two artists' studios give glimpses of work in progress, and courses can teach you the fine points of watercolor, how to throw a pot, or how to weave a tapestry. Visit this month for the breathtaking spectacle of the headlands painted with wildflowers--and to savor the town before summer fog and crowds roll in.

Eight outstanding galleries

Long jam-packed with art galleries, Mendocino has established itself as a prestigious art community, boasting an impressive exchange with acclaimed galleries in the Bay Area. While you'll find some galleries with the standard seascapes and driftwood seagulls, several show sophisticated works not only by locals, but also by artists working throughout the country. Here, we list galleries--seven in town, one just south--that deal primarily in unique works of art. All welcome browsers. Free maps showing shops, galleries, and restaurants are available at most of them. Telephone area code is 707. Gallery Fair, Ukiah and Kasten streets; 937-5121. Specializes in handcrafted furniture and unusual fine jewelry. Open 10:30 to 4:30 daily. Gallery Glendeven, 8221 N. State Highway 1, Little River (1 1/2 miles south of town); 937-0083. This new gallery, next to be Glendeven Inn, features handcrafted furniture, abstract paintings, hangings of embossed and quilted paper. Artists are local or from the Pacific Northwest. Open 10 to 5 daily except Wednesdays. Gallery Mendocino, 45062 Ukiah Street; 937-0214. This tiny gallery has wood- and linoleum-block prints by Californian Emmy Lou Packard, protege of Diego Rivera. Most work is by local artists. Open 9:30 to 5 Tuesdays through Saturdays. Highlight Gallery, 45052 Main Street; 937-3132. This three-story building holds an impressive collection of handcrafted furniture, turned-wood objects, paintings, and handwoven textiles by artists nationwide. An exhibit of furniture by local woodworkers runs May 18 through June 3. Open 10 to 5 daily. Mayhew Wildlife Gallery, 400 Kasten Street; 937-0453. Etchings, watercolors, and sculpture are devoted exclusively to wildlife and marine subjects. Open 10:30 to 5 daily. Mendocino Art Center Showcase, 560 Main Street, 937-2829; and Mendocino Art Center Gallery, 45200 Little Lake Street, 937-5818. Both galleries hold rotating exhibits of ceramics, sculpture, textiles, and paintings by local and international artists. They sponsor 24 shows each year, including 8 competitions judged by prominent Bay Area art critics. At the showcase, opened last summer, manager Eleanor Adams often works at her loom; hours are 10:30 to 5 daily. The nonprofit art center, founded in 1959 by local artists Jennie and Bill Zacha, is open 10 to 4 (details on courses begin below). Ruth Carlson Gallery, State Highway 1 at Main Street; 937-5154. Representational art is on display, with nature paintings by Larry Eifert, sea and landscape paintings by E. John Robinson, watercolors by Erin Dertner. Open 10 to 5 daily.

Courses: basketry to dyeing with mushrooms

At the Mendocino Art Center, local professionals teach classes in textile and fiber arts, ceramics, and fine arts; students range from neophyte to experienced. "The whole point of our center is to make art as accessible as possible," says Gerald Huckaby, editor of the center's Arts and Entertaiment magazine. Weekend classes ($35 to $70) are held from September to June; in summer, one-to three-week classes are offered ($175 per week; some charge an additional fee for materials). Register now for summer classes, which begin June 18. In addition to its gallery, the sprawling art center has three large studios. In the textile and fiber arts studio, try weaving, silk-screening, mushroom dyeing, basketry, and paper-making. In the ceramics studio, you can learn everything about pottery. In the fine arts studio are sun and space for instruction in all areas of print-making, glass-etching, calligraphy, sculpture, drawing, and painting--though for painters the true studio is the coast itself. The center houses students in 24 apartments with kitchenettes (shared, the units rent for about $25 per person per night), and staff can help you find other accommodations if necessary. For information, class schedules, and registration, write to the center, 45200 Little Lake St., Mendocino, Calif. 95460; or call 937-5818.

Visit artists' studios

Two painters welcome guests on weekends; works are on display and for sale. It's a good idea to call ahead. Jim Bertram, 45170 Main Street; 937-5182. This artist's hallmark is "nonverbal calligraphy," paintings decorated with calligraphic shapes that seem to dance off the canvas. Open 10 to 4:30 weekends. Hilda Pertha, upstairs from the Art Center Showcase (address at left); 937-5605. Collages and abstract paintings using ink and water are inspired by many years in California and Norway. Open 10 to 5 Saturdays, 10 to 2 Sundays.
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Title Annotation:California
Date:May 1, 1990
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