Museum of Sonoma County Debuts Dual Virtual Exhibits Featuring Local Art

While the Museum of Sonoma County has closed its gallery space in downtown Santa Rosa to the public due to Covid-19, the museum–a longtime Sonoma County cultural cornerstone–is continuing to engage to community with virtual exhibits and programs.

This month, with the holidays on the horizon, the Museum of Sonoma County unveils two virtual exhibitions displaying local talent; “35: Thirty-Five Artists for Thirty-Five Years” and “Artistry in Wood.”

Originally scheduled to open in-person on December 12, both exhibitions will open to museum members in an exclusive virtual art reception on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Following that, both exhibits will be available for the public to view on the museum’s website beginning Dec. 22.

As the title implies, “35: Thirty-Five Artists for Thirty-Five Years” is a retrospective exhibit celebrating the Museum of Sonoma County’s 35-year anniversary in 2020 with a selection of artworks from the museum’s permanent collection. Founded in 1985, the museum has collected art and historical items with a focus on Sonoma County and the North Bay.

Now the largest comprehensive overview of the history, art, and culture of the region, the museum’s collection features works on paper, photographs, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and crafts that span from the 19th to the 21st Century. With this in mind, the artworks selected for “35” explore a broad range of media and styles and the exhibit showcases art that depicts the local landscape and the environment, as well as art that offers social commentary and other recurring local interests.

“Museum of Sonoma County’s collection has grown because of the support of collectors, artists, and donors, and we are grateful for their generosity,” says Jeff Nathanson, Executive Director and art curator for the museum. “We are proud of the art we have accessioned to date, and are pleased to share this sampling with the public. We hope these excellent works provoke inspiration, conversation, and creativity.”

Nathanson and the museum also acknowledge that the museum’s permanent collection is in need of broader community representation, and Nathanson is refocusing the collection’s priorities with a keen eye on works by artists of all genders and artists of color to ensure that all members of the community will see themselves reflected in the collection.

For more than 30 of the museum’s 35 years of operation, the Sonoma County Woodworkers Association (SCWA) has collaborated with the museum to present an annual, juried showcase of fine regional woodwork in the “Artistry in Wood” exhibition.

“Artistry in Wood” annually pushes the boundaries of what wood can do as an artistic medium. Additionally, the exhibition educates the public on historical and regional woodworking influences, such as the distinctive woodworking program at The Krenov School at Mendocino College in Fort Bragg.

This year’s virtual version of the exhibit continues the woodworking traditions of the long running show, featuring new and previously completed works crafted by fine regional woodworkers who are affiliated with the Sonoma County Woodworkers Association.

The virtual members-only art reception for “35: Thirty-Five Artists for Thirty-Five Years” and “Artistry in Wood” happens Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 7pm. Both shows open to the public virtually on Dec. 22. Other virtual programs will be added shortly. Museumsc.org.

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