.Best Place to Make an Art Investment of the ‘I Knew Them Before They Were Famous’ Variety

University Art Gallery, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park

Let’s be frank: We’ve all wondered if that garage sale splatter fest we purchased for $5 is actually a Jackson Pollock or if the anti-consumerist slogan silkscreened in bold letters across that halftone photo on your wall isn’t perhaps Barbara Kruger. Pro tip: You can ditch all the guesswork about provenance and head straight to the source—a cultural jackpot sequestered on the Sonoma State University campus—The University Art Gallery.

Since its grand opening in 1978, this almost 2,500-square-foot creative wonderland has been more than just a feast for the eyes; it’s a veritable incubator for the next Basquiats and Warhols of the world.

With over 40 years under its belt, the gallery has seen everything from avant-garde installations that make you go, “What the…?” to more traditional pieces that whisper sweet nothings about the beauty of life. It’s not just a gallery—it’s a time machine showcasing the evolution of contemporary art, all while giving art students and faculty a platform to shine.

And let’s talk about the annual Art from the Heart auction. It’s not just an event; it’s a treasure hunt. With artworks donated by emerging talents and national darlings, it’s your chance to snag a masterpiece before the artist hits the big time. Imagine telling your friends, “I bought it back when they were still a student,” as you casually adjust your monocle.

Hats off to interim gallery director and exhibitions and collections manager Claudia Molloy and her team for providing an excellent experience for artists and art lovers alike. And, of course, it’s not all about potentially striking it rich as an early collector. The gallery serves as a hands-on classroom for students across majors, teaching them the ropes of museum and gallery management. It’s where theory meets practice, and dreams meet reality. And maybe, just maybe, you can say, you “knew them when.”

University Art Gallery, School of Arts & Humanities, Sonoma State University, 1801 E Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. artgallery.sonoma.edu.


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