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.
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 crafts. This cooperative gallery shows over 20 artists and has a great selection of painting, pottery, jewelry, weaving, glass, metalwork, journals, botanical art, and more.
Location: Lopez Village Plaza; (360) 468-3265
Hours: Mon. - Sat., 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sun. 10:00 - 3:00 [more...]
Opened in 1959 in a 1866 log cabin, 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 known for its breadth of artists, and an ever-changing collection of works in diverse media. Their shop in Eastsound features art by many island and regional artists.
Location: 2274 Orcas Rd., Orcas Island; (360) 376-4260;
Hours: 10:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m., daily, Valentine's Day through New Year's Day (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas) [more...]
WaterWorks Gallery was 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.
Location: 315 Argyle St., Friday Harbor; (360) 378-3060
Hours: Call for seasonal hours [more...]
Enjoy the waterfront walk down to the Port of Friday Harbor, appreciating the Coast Salish house posts and the many visiting boats from around the world. The piece is titled "Interaction" and was created by Salish Coast artist Susan Point, a member of the Musqueum Tribe, as a symbol of welcome and an acknowledgement of the Native presence in the San Juan Islands. "Interaction" is also dedicated to welcoming all to work together in the stewardship of our precious marine ecosystem.
Location: Friday Harbor waterfront, in Jack Fairweather Park [more...]
Orcas Center is the focal point on Orcas Island for community theater and the performing arts, presenting both local and professional artists. More than 40 performances a year has this center teeming with artistic activity. The facility features a 213-seat theater and a beautiful lobby that functions as a gallery for the visual arts. Location: 917 Mt Baker Rd., Eastsound; (360) 376-2281 Hours: Visit www.orcascenter.com for showtimes and gallery hours [more...]
Yvonne’s work space is a multi-media island studio located four miles from Friday Harbor on a beautiful lakeside setting. Come watch and learn about her art glass panels, miniature sculptures (jewelry), and encaustic (beeswax) paintings. Artwork is available for sale and custom commissions are always welcome. Location: 1296 Wold Rd., San Juan Island; (360) 378-6725 Hours: Call for seasonal hours [more...]
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...]
San Juan Community Theatre 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, and is active year-round.
The Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival is dedicated to the highest standards of musical excellence, through creative programming and Festival-related events throughout the year. It is our mission to share stimulating musical experiences with all midst the beauty of Orcas Island, creating Classical Music with a View!
Aloysia Friedmann, Artistic Director and Jon Kimura Parker, Artistic Advisor [more...]
Renowned for professional quality productions and unmatchable island ambiance, Island Stage Left's goal is to provide the best theatre for everyone, regardless of their financial circumstance. Join us under the stars every summer for Shakespeare and indoors from September to May for contemporary and classical plays. Admission is free/donations are appreciated. [more...]
Visit Paula's studio on the southwest side of San Juan Island, where she turns porcelain clay on the potters wheel into unique and functional vessels for your 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 for sale as well as in progress. Location: 160 MacGinitie Rd., San Juan Island; (360) 378-2391 Hours: Call for seasonal hours [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.
Island Studios is a fine arts and crafts gallery opened in 1996 for the exclusive purpose of representing artists and craftspersons who live in the islands.
Location: 270 Spring St., Friday Harbor; (360) 378-6550
Hours: Call for seasonal hours [more...]
The San Juan Islands Artists' Studio tour is a free, self-guided tour of 13 working studios, including 39 artists all around the island. The artists are a group of mutually supportive San Juan Island artists who open their personal studio spaces, often including artistic gardens, to the public for an entire weekend each spring. Location: Various studios on San Juan Island Visit www.sanjuanislandartists.com for dates and times [more...]