Honoring Okamura

Longtime Bolinas artist subject of two exhibits


An esteemed painter, art teacher and central figure of the Bolinas community for 50 years, Arthur Okamura passed away of a sudden heart attack in 2009 at the age of 77. His memory lives on, however, in his art, in the inspiration he instilled and in two concurrent retrospectives in his hometown.

Okamura came to prominence in during the San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s. He taught at the California College of the Arts in Oakland for 31 years, and retired as a professor emeritus in 1997.

Nationally recognized, some of Okamura’s work resides in the permanent collections in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Yet Okamura took exceptional pride in his relationship with Commonweal Gallery in Bolinas, where he served as a board member for more than 10 years and taught weekly classes. Currently, Commonweal holds an exhibition of his silkscreen prints, paintings, etchings, sculptures and acrylics through June 24 (451 Mesa Road, Bolinas; 415.868.0970) while the Bolinas Museum opens an exhibit celebrating his work and life with a reception on Saturday, April 23, at 3pm (48 Wharf Road, Bolinas; 415.868.0330).

Sonoma County Library