Arts Scene in the San Juan Islands
One of the many reasons to visit the San Juan Islands is to experience the vibrant arts scene. Whether fine art, crafts, theatre, or other performance art, the Islands have attracted an accomplished and varied community of artists who share their work in many different venues.
Browse galleries and outdoor markets offering colorful paintings, fiber art and jewelry. Listen to world-class musicians at the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival. Enjoy moving performances at San Juan Island Community Theatre’s Shakespeare Under the Stars. Or, hear talented local poets read at Lopez Island’s intimate library. Whatever your interests, you’ll discover a vast range of artistic offerings and activities on your visit to the San Juan Islands.
And you’ll find not just a profusion of professional artists, but also a wealth of part-time creativity—here, your tour guide, receptionist, server, or sales clerk is likely to paint, write, or act in their off hours. Musicians. Photographers. Writers. Sculptors. Actors. Stonemasons. Fiber artists. Watercolorists. Woodturners. Ceramicists. The islands’ beauty attracts and inspires artists of all genres, and you’ll find yourself experiencing their works at every turn.
Orcas, San Juan and Lopez each offers a wealth of galleries and studios to explore, and on summer Saturdays, you can sample distinctive local crafts, art, jewelry, clothing, and pottery at these islands’ lively farmers’ markets. On summer Friday nights at the Art Market in Friday Harbor, artists share and sell their creations. Even more dramatic are the community theaters in Eastsound, Friday Harbor, and Lopez Village, whose year-round entertainments range from plays and Broadway musicals to chamber, folk and jazz music. In the summer months, treat yourself to free live music in Eastsound’s village green, at the Port of Friday Harbor, or at Music on the Lawn at the San Juan Historical Society Museum.
Visit artists on their home turf during the Artists’ Studio Tours on San Juan in June, Orcas in August, and Lopez in September. In July, take in the Summer Arts Fair on San Juan Island, and in August, enjoy the Chamber Music Festival on Orcas.
From internationally lauded to creatively home grown, from sophisticated to simple, you’ll discover a range of artistic experiences in the San Juans as wide and eclectic as your tastes.
Current schedules of shows, openings, and exhibitions can be found on the events page.
The oldest pottery in the Northwest, it is located on West Beach only 3½ miles from Eastsound, in an area of old growth cedars and Douglas fir, on a 100-foot high bluff overlooking President's Channell. When you turn off the main road onto the long driveway into the woods, you feel like you are going into a fairyland. As you enter the parking lot you will notice a sign for the 'Foot Path' that leads you down into the yard. There you will find different pathways to go on to discover this magical place with its beautiful gardens and fountains. It's a whimsical adventure. [more...]
The San Juan County Arts Council is a 501 (c) 3 organization that works to promote and integrate the artistic resources of the county for the creative economic development, education and overall well-being of the community. Public education regarding the arts, supporting existing arts organizations and artists, and creating a complete resource for San Juan County artistic endeavors are our primary goals. [more...]
Founded in 1987 Chimera Gallery is a showplace for Lopez artists and artisans, providing a central location in Lopez Village to display and sell their quality fine art and craft. We are a cooperative gallery with over 20 artists and we have a great selection of painting, pottery, jewelry, weaving, glass, metalwork, journals, botanical art, and more. We hope that you are inspired by our art, as we are inspired by the year-round beauty and peacefulness of Lopez Island. [more...]
The San Juan Islands Museum of Art has exciting plans for a beautiful new facility opening in early 2015. The design by architect Richard Hobbs features interior Main and North Galleries within the walls of the existing building and a proposed outdoor South Terrace Gallery, the combination of which invites all to participate and be involved in the world of the IMA visual arts experience. The new San Juan Islands Museum of Art will provide quarterly exhibits that reflect the best of the visual arts from the northwestern U.S. and southwestern Canada. [more...]
WaterWorks Gallery is San Juan Island’s première gallery for contemporary artwork, established in 1985 with the concept of showcasing artists based in the San Juan Islands and the Pacific Northwest. The work of the gallery’s painters and sculptors reflect the unique Northwest experience. Artists and their visions evolve and change, stimulated by the changing times we live in. Art jewelry is a new addition to the gallery. Monthly show schedule posted online. Seasonally adjusted hours. [more...]
Visit Paula's studio where she turns porcelain clay on the potters wheel into unique and functional vessels for you table. Established in 1993, the studio offers visitors the opportunity to see a working studio and the many aspects of pottery making. Browse the showroom and view works in progress. Call for hours. [more...]
The San Juan Islands Artists' Studio tour is a free, self-guided tour of 13 working studios, including 39 participants all around the island. The artists are a group of mutually supportive San Juan Island artists who open up our personal studio spaces, often including artistic gardens, to the public for an entire weekend at the end of spring each year. [more...]
Yvonne’s work space is a multi media island studio located four miles from the town of Friday Harbor on a beautiful lakeside setting. Come visit to watch and learn about her art glass panels, miniature sculptures (jewelry), and encaustic (beeswax) paintings. Artwork is available for sale and custom commissions always welcome. By appointment or call for studio hours. [more...]
Opened in 1959, Crow Valley Pottery continues to focus on artists creating original works in a variety of media. Potters Jeffri Coleman and Michael Rivkin anchor an exciting gallery unmatched in the islands for its breadth of artists, with an ever-changing collection of works in diverse media. The summer show series is a "must do" while on Orcas. The "Annual Garden Show" each June ushers in the beginning of the summer season. The Gallery is open 7 days a week, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Valentine's Day through New Year's Day (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas). [more...]
We are a fine art galley that offers a venue for the native people of the Northwest Coast, the Inuit and Alaskan indigenous artists. We feature master carvers in wood, stone and bone. Our selection of silver, argillite basketry, paintings and ivory will enhance your island experience. [more...]
The Orcas Center is the focal point on Orcas Island for community theater and the performing arts, presenting both local and professional artists. Over 40 performances a year has this center teeming with artistic activity. The facility features a 213 seat theater, a multipurpose community room, a fully equipped kitchen, offices and a beautiful lobby that functions as a gallery for the visual arts. [more...]
Lopez Center for Community and the Arts is a critical part of life on the island. Located on some 7 acres of land in the middle of Lopez Village, The Center has committed the use of some of the land to an outdoor performance pavilion, the Lopez Children’s Center, the Family Resource Center, the Farmers' Market, a community garden, and a skateboard park. It sits proudly in the middle of an expansive greensward with drought- and deer-resistant landscaping. [more...]
Orcas Island Artworks is currently located at 217 Main Street in Eastsound, also known as the old library, while their historic building in Olga is repaired due to a fire. A treasured Orcas Island destination for visitors and locals alike, the Artworks offers one of the finest selections of local art and crafts in the San Juan Islands. The co-op represents over forty Orcas Island artists and craftspeople, working in pottery, sculpture, jewelry, glass, wood, paintings, prints, wearable art, fiber and more. Established in 1981, the gallery is one of the oldest cooperatives in the country. [more...]
San Juan Community Theatre, located on San Juan Island in Friday Harbor, is a state-of-the-art facility far exceeding expectations of what might be found on a remote island. The Theatre offers a broad variety of high-quality, locally-produced events, as well as performances by renowned touring music, theatre and dance companies. The Theatre is active year-round. See the schedule of events on our web site for details on current and upcoming shows. [more...]
Enjoy the waterfront walk down to the Port of Friday Harbor, appreciating the Coast Salish "Portals of Welcome" house posts and the many visiting boats from around the world. The carved cedar piece is titled "Interaction" and was created by Salish Coast artist Susan Point as a symbol of welcome and an acknowledgement of the Native presence in the San Juan Islands. [more...]