Works of art attract everyone from billionaires purchasing their hundredth piece to new collectors looking to buy their very first. The art community tends to concentrate in vibrant and flourishing cities, and has more than made a home for itself in the Bay Area. There are few better places to enjoy paintings, sculptures, and mixed media extravaganzas. The 2023 readers’ choice Best of the County winner is Art Works Downtown (pictured above). For the rest of the Marin Magazine‘s Best of Marin County Art Gallery picks see below.
Our 2023 Arts & Entertainment category sponsor is Gene Hiller.
We’ve broken it down by region: Southern and Central Marin.
New artists? Established artists? Artists in the middle? Aerena Gallery showcases them all in its galleries or sculpture gardens, from Mill Valley to Napa. No matter what kind of collector you are, this is an ideal spot to start in your quest. The gallery’s exhibits focus on anything from bringing an explosion of nature into your home and office, to imaginative and surrealist works sure to make you do a double take. Hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
53 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 707.603.8787
Anthony Meier has been an established private dealer in the secondary market since 1984, but it wasn’t until 2004 that his gallery moved to the hub of California Street in San Francisco. In 2023, the gallery opened another location in a historic building in downtown Mill Valley. The gallery produces five shows a year featuring local and newly emerging artists, welcoming them to the Bay Area art world with style and acclaim. They also participate in numerous art shows not only up and down the state, but also across the country in New York. Hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
21 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 415.351.1400
In 2014, Emebet Korn founded Desta Gallery with a mission to create an intersection between dialogue, genuine connection, and the finest of contemporary art. Along with boosting local artists, Korn attends art fairs and events around the world to gather insight on what her clients want and to improve her gallery’s overall experience. More than just a typical gallery, you can come to Desta for artist receptions, speaking engagements, and even poetry readings. Whether you’re an experienced collector or not, Korn is known for being helpful, knowledgeable, and tenacious in finding the right piece for each client. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
100 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 415.384.8762
A well-established figure in the Bay Area art scene, Kim Eagles-Smith has been a fine art dealer for over 30 years as well as a longtime member of the San Francisco Art Dealers Association. Walk into her gallery, and you’ll see not only art from established artists across the country, but also a dynamic display of work from the San Francisco Bay Area Figurative Movement. The space showcases primarily contemporary and modernist art, although you’ll also find works from the Bay Area’s secondary market. Hours are 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 12 – 4 p.m. Saturday.
23 Sunnyside Ave., Mill Valley, 415.981.1080
Established in 1969, Robert Green Fine Arts has a long history in the community. Its early mission was to serve WWII soldiers who suffered from PTSD and other trauma responses, to help them express emotions they could not articulate through nonverbal creative mediums. Today, it continues that tradition, displaying abstract art featuring evocative takes on color, form, and intuitive emotion. Hours are 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and by appointment Monday through Thursday.
154 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley
First opened in 2005, Seager Gray has established a strong reputation as a contemporary fine art gallery that attracts international artists as well as local newcomers bursting with talent. But their roots are still firmly planted in the community, as they focus on the artistic history of the area through an exploration of mediums such as ceramics, abstract paintings, or even handmade book artistry. Walk into their gallery and you’re sure to find quality and mastery of the arts. Hours are 12 – 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
108 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 415.384.8288
Expenses are rising in Marin and artists are at increasing risk of being priced out, but Art Works Downtown, a nonprofit art center, is committed to staying put with a mission to make art visible and accessible for the betterment of all. Drawing from the community as well as from the breadth of creators in the area, Art Works Downtown showcases art in all mediums to inspire the public and encourage aspiring artists to pursue their dreams. After a quarter of a century in business, it is as dedicated as ever to fostering unity and opportunity through the arts in a time where being an artist is getting harder and harder. Hours are 1-8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
1325-1337 Fourth St., San Rafael
Founders Elizabeth Garvey and Catherine Simon have made their business stand out as not only a refined contemporary art gallery, but also as a stage for major female artists of the 20th century and artists from the oft-overlooked Midwest. Simon opened the San Anselmo location with the goal of making the frequently exclusive and highbrow art world more accessible, to assist those who haven’t had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of creating their own collections. Hours are 12 – 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
538 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo, 415.720.9252
Relatively new to the San Anselmo scene, Julie Zener is already making a splash as the place to go for modern art. Both emerging and established artists can find a home inside the gallery. The pristine white walls display paper prints, paintings, photography, and plenty more. Whether you’re seeking a piece for your living room, a custom outdoor mural, or a rental for your office building, Zener provides a hands-on approach tailored to each customer’s needs and budget.
540 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo, 415.246.3944