Things to do in Santa Monica

Santa Monica Art Galleries

Sunsets, tacos, and surrealism — Santa Monica’s art scene is as diverse and unforgettable as the Third Street Promenade.

Ready for an artistic adventure that goes beyond the beach and boardwalk? Dive into Santa Monica's art galleries, each a shock of color, form, and thought-provoking themes with an all-important touch of California cool.

You’ll find many galleries to explore, all showcasing something unique. When you're thinking about things to do in Santa Monica, leave time to soak in the local culture at these treasure troves of innovation.

Art aficionados and curious souls come together to ride the wave of Santa Monica’s creative undercurrent. Meanwhile, the city’s art galleries promise experiences as evocative as the Pacific Ocean breeze.

Contemporary Art

Contemporary art is a wild dance of colors, shapes, and concepts, swirling together to challenge, provoke, and move.

Banish old notions of stuffy galleries and solemn museums to the past. Contemporary art breaks boundaries and defies conformity. It bursts forth from unexpected places, sometimes deceptively mundane, and others, entirely out of this world.

Expect to see traditional techniques mingle with cutting-edge technology. Take a deep breath because every encounter tells a story that’s unique to you. Jaw-dropping installations excite your senses. Thoughtful performance art stops you in your tracks.

Just like one of our shows, your personal interpretation is the most important takeaway. Join the conversation. Embrace the absurd. Find meaning in the chaos of Santa Monica’s art galleries.

1. William Turner Gallery

William Turner Gallery isn't your average museum in Santa Monica. It's a full-fledged, 5,000-square-foot springboard for artistic talent. Since its founding in 1991, it’s been a launch pad for artists at all levels. Think sculptures that redefine form, paintings that draw you in, and installations that spark heated conversations.

Its enthusiastic staff is your personal curator. They're always happy to guide you through the shifting landscape of Santa Monica’s contemporary art scene and answer your questions.

Photographer: Bara Cross

2. Copro Gallery

Prefer art that's out of the ordinary? Welcome to the bold and rebellious world of Copro Gallery. Established in 1999, it’s a champion of groundbreaking artists who push the envelope. Past exhibitions include Ed Binkley's Holymen & Monsters, a provocative exploration of faith and transgression.

In addition to platforming well-known artists, Copro Gallery amplifies rising stars’ talent. And its reach extends farther than Santa Monica. The gallery actively participates in international art fairs, confirming the gallery’s status as a steadfast supporter of the LA art scene.

3. Lois Lambert Gallery

Head over to Lois Lambert Gallery and discover the artistic superstars of tomorrow. Opened as the Gallery of Functional Art in 1987, it’s a hotbed for new generations of talent.

These walls showcase emerging and mid-career artists of local and international renown. The result is a peaceful and uplifting space where creators experiment and share their visions, and curious folks let their minds wander. There’s so much to explore.

Start in the main gallery before moseying over to the immersive Project Room and intimate Upstairs Gallery. For owner Lois Lambert, the artists she works with are family — and you can feel the love in the gallery’s warm and welcoming atmosphere.

4. bG Gallery

At bG Gallery, artistic boundaries are built to be broken down. This isn't a typical gallery space. It’s a trailblazer in the virtual art world. We’ve been blown away by its dynamic online exhibitions, including What Was and What Will Be, SWEETS FACTORY, and Salvador Trouble Berlin.

Don’t worry, virtual skeptics. You can still catch in-person exhibits. Griff Cowan’s solo exhibition, Internal Alchemy, explored the mysteries of transformation and self-discovery, and Korean artist Sori Choi’s Visible Sound translated sound into color-drenched visual art.

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At Santa Monica's ROSEGALLERY, artistic heritage meets contemporary exploration, and the outcome is mesmerizing. If you’re a fan of 20th- and 21st-century works on paper, this Santa Monica gallery is unmissable.

Owner Rose Shoshana believes in the connection between all people, regardless of physical attributes and circumstances. She encourages her artist collaborators to honor their intuition while using critical thinking, helping them strike a balance between thinking and feeling.

ROSEGALLERY is a favorite among local collectors, art enthusiasts, and anyone curious about the interplay between expression, emotion, and imagery.

6. Von Lintel Gallery

The Von Lintel Gallery was founded by visionary Tarrah von Lintel in 1993. It's a staunch champion of unconventional works that dare to challenge perception. Prepare to be moved by its roster of carefully chosen paintings and photographs and the stories they tell.

Patrons come to gaze in awe at works by the likes of Joe Rudko and Edward Burtynsky — artists who value innovation and aesthetic tradition equally. The gallery’s distinguished approach to curation promises a memorable experience from start to finish.

7. 18th Street Arts Center

18th Street Arts Center is the largest artist residency program in Southern California. It platforms over 60 artists each year, serving as a hub of artistic collaboration and evolution in the local community.

Encouraging experimentation and the fusion of ideas is crucial for progress, and this gallery takes its responsibility seriously. Regular visits allow you to witness artistic expression evolve firsthand.

Beyond residencies, the 18th Street Arts Center engages the public in art through exhibitions, workshops, and courses. If you're curious about the creative process or want a glimpse into the future of art, it's the place to be.

Postwar/Contemporary Art

Postwar art museums give voice to people whose lives were torn apart by global wars. Think of the raw emotion of abstract expressionism or how pop art starkly contrasts with everything that came before it.

As visitors navigate a maze of symbolism, each exhibit offers a chilling yet hopeful window into the postwar psyche. They spark conversations that go beyond language and enter the realm of pure emotion. Come along for a taste of humanity’s ability to create beauty and meaning through hardship.

8. Leslie Sacks Gallery

Leslie Sacks Gallery carved a niche in Santa Monica's art scene as a purveyor of postwar and contemporary art. It curates edgy, exciting exhibitions showcasing American and European masters of their craft.

Each piece is a glimpse into the artistic movements that shaped the 20th century following two World Wars. In this haunting gallery, you’ll find a mix of works by familiar names, such as Andy Warhol, and local heroes, such as Ed Moses.

Photographer: Adrien Olichon

Contemporary Japanese Art

Contemporary Japanese art is inspired by several excellent movements. First, neo-Dada and pop art blur the lines between Eastern and Western vibes. They’re playful, sarcastic, and unrelenting in portraying modern life.

Then you've got monochrome art, which is all about stripping down to one or two colors. Without bright or muted tones to distract the eye, these artworks dig deep into form and texture.

If you’ve heard of Takashi Murakami's style, you’re already familiar with the superflat movement and its link to pop culture, anime, and unfiltered expression. If not, this is your chance to discover it.

Come to these galleries for a flash of insight into what makes Japanese art so vibrant and exciting.

9. Speedy Gallery

Imagine a gallery where art pops off the walls with vibrant colors and playful energy. That's Speedy Gallery. It shines a profound spotlight on works that are approachable for modern audiences, focusing on Japan and beyond.

Are you drawn to captivating pop art or quirky illustrations? Either way, there's something to feast your eyes on here. Speedy Gallery encourages viewers to connect with art personally while curating a lighthearted and welcoming atmosphere. Current exhibits include works by Billy Zane, Britney TOKYO, and Spyros Prokopiou.

Art Glass

In a glass art gallery, windows aren’t just made for looking through. They’re portals to a deeper understanding of life itself. Glistening creations reflect patterns around the room, transforming light and shadow in real time.

We have more in common with glass artisans than you might think. Glassblowers don't perform gravity-defying acrobatics, but we both specialize in dazzle. Day after day, we perform alchemy with light, dance with fire, and create breathtaking masterpieces.

10. Adamm's Stained Glass & Art Gallery

Step into a world of luminous beauty at Adamm's Stained Glass & Art Gallery. This family-owned business advocates for the exquisite ancient art of stained glass. Its experienced glassblowers breathe life into custom-made pieces, transforming sand and heat into captivating works of art.

The shop also displays works from more than 180 American glass artists and showcases a selection of paintings and sculptures by local artists.

photographer: nataliaaggiato

Emerging Artists

Looking for something new? These Santa Monica galleries focus on emerging talent, giving you a chance to be among the first to witness the next John Zurier or Jeremy Lipking. Prepare to be challenged by fresh themes and concepts. Revel in the freedom of forming a fresh opinion without anyone's influence.

Supporting emerging artists is a labor of love that benefits future generations. These newbies are taking the risky, uncertain first steps of their careers. Your visit, your exploration, and your purchase are the fuel propelling them forward. We love knowing we’re shaping tomorrow’s art scene by showing up for emerging artists.

11. Craig Krull Gallery

Since 1991, the Craig Krull Gallery has championed artistic voices on the rise. This Santa Monica staple doesn't just display contemporary art — it cultivates it. Led by Craig Krull, the gallery champions fresh talent in painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media.

Artist talks, panel discussions, and community events make it a dynamic hub for artistic exchange. Looking for something to do after browsing Craig Krull’s art collection? Take your taste buds on a bold, fruity adventure with wine-tasting tours in Santa Monica.


All it takes is a click and a flash to capture a moment in time. Photography is a spellbinding dance with light, shadow, and space. It whispers stories untold, ignites forgotten dreams, and infuses wanderlust into your soul.

Photography is your ticket to a thousand realities, all waiting to be discovered, one frame at a time. Ready to see through an artist’s eyes? Check out Santa Monica’s photography galleries.

12. Peter Fetterman Gallery

The Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica is a treasure chest overflowing with iconic photographs. But Fetterman isn't a mere collector; he's a curator and filmmaker. The gallery boasts a stunning collection from legendary photographers, each image a ticket to a bygone era.

Past exhibits include Steve McCurry's The Endless Traveler and Jeffrey Conley's An Ode to Nature. We love coming here to admire timeless art in a thoroughly modern setting.

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13. Galerie XII

Galerie XII will surely challenge and intrigue even the most discerning art lovers. This Santa Monica gallery showcases works by Vee Speers and Paolo Ventura. Speers' exhibition uses mugshots and AI animation to curate a compelling journey through perception and assumption.

Ventura’s exhibit draws inspiration from Marcel Aymé's poignant short story, The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls. In addition to solo exhibitions, Galerie XII curates collections. Locals were stunned by its 2024 retrospective of photographs capturing the essence of 1960s Los Angeles.

14. Marshall Gallery

Marshall Gallery amplifies bold artistic voices, established and emerging, who push the boundaries of photography. Alison Rossiter's experimental use of photograms and expired photosensitive paper is the kind of visionary work you'll see here.

Come and immerse yourself in unique techniques and innovative themes and gain a fresh perspective on the art of photography.

Santa Monica's Artistic Horizons: A Canvas of Diversity and Inspiration

Now you’re up to speed with Santa Monica’s art galleries. However, the city’s artistic spirit also spills into the streets. Keep your eyes peeled for vibrant murals daubed onto buildings in the Bergamot District and Ocean Park.

Imagine a world where movement is poetry, and bodies paint breathtaking strokes across the stage’s canvas. Watch the impossible unfold as aerialists dance among the stars and music speaks directly to your heart. Don't just watch one of our shows in Santa Monica — join us for an artistic odyssey.

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