While the Californian city of San Mateo may be situated in Silicon Valley’s high-tech enclave, San Mateo is packed with art and culture. From the monthly downtown Art Night to the specialized galleries to the elaborate design of the Japanese Tea Garden, art lovers will find plenty to see and do throughout San Mateo.
First Fridays is San Mateo’s monthly arts festival, and is held on the first Friday of each month. With at least four different locations in the city to choose from, the festival brings together local art, food and music, resulting in a vibrant evening event, suitable for the entire family.
Broadway by the Bay
A major musical theater company that produces full-scale musicals using local talent, Broadway by the Bay is a must-visit for those hoping to catch a show whilst in San Mateo. Situated just next to the theater are a few different restaurants that will perfectly round up your evening, from the juicy steaks at the Portobello Grill to the exotic spicy bites at Arya.
Peninsula Museum of Art
Situated in Burlingame, the Peninsula Museum of Art hosts a number of cutting-edge exhibitions that are definitely worth checking out. Metaphysical/Metaphorical feature bronze heads that are each aimed at delivering a particular message, while Gnarly Old Guy are paintings that feature grape vines, connecting with the founding fathers of California’s wine industry.
Japanese Tea Garden
The tranquil landscape of Central Park’s Japanese Tea Garden is considered by many to be a form of living art, with blossoming cherry trees lining the winding pathways, and a kidney-shaped pond bursting with koi. A quaint bridge crosses the pond, from where you can see the koi being fed twice a day, while traditional Japanese garden features, such as the elegant gazebo, the delicate wooden teahouse, and the small shrine, are a fantastic representation of art and craftsmanship from Japan.
Society of Western Artists Fine Art Center
Located in San Bruno, the Society of Western Artists Fine Art Center hosts a number of different exciting art shows, in addition to artist workshops that are open to anyone that wants to work alongside a professional artist. The exhibits feature work by SWA members, and these exhibits change every two months, while National and Local Artist Demonstrations are held on the third Saturday of each month.
There are plenty of art galleries scattered throughout San Mateo, but some of them truly stand out from the competition. The Neologian Art Gallery not only showcases new and emerging local artists, but also holds specials events, life drawing sessions and other art classes. Alexia Neves Art features vibrantly colored paintings, while the Studio Shop showcases some gorgeous local sculpture, and have been around for over 100 years.
San Mateo’s art scene is diverse, featuring everything from Western art to Japanese design to musical theater performances. Each of these organizations has their own website that details schedules for art shows and special events, and these are definitely worth browsing if you are hoping to see something in particular.