Sebastopol is brimming with artists, musicians, actors, authors, dancers and creative thinkers. We are often considered the cultural center for West County, and no wonder! Check out the happenings:
Do we love murals in Sebastopol! Walk west from the Plaza on McKinley Street and you will see the Coyote mural extending all along the north side of the Oddfellows Building. Painted as a community event, facilitated by muralist Dave Gordon, the mural depicts the ocean creation myth of the Pomo people who inhabited this area before the European settlers. You can see other murals on Edman Way (near the parking lot behind City Hall and the Library), such as Dana Vallarino’s “See the World in an Apple Seed.” Or check out the murals on the pavement as you walk west on McKinley from the Barlow. These were painted by over 200 community volunteers as part of the 2014 Sebastopol Village Convergence.
The Sebastopol Center for the Arts hosts two open studio tours a year where locals and visitors are invited into the workspace of Sonoma County artists. On these self-guided adventures, you can watch the artists at work, learn about their creative processes, and purchase art. Art at the Source occurs in early June, while Sonoma County Art Trails takes place in October.
A feast of visual arts is available year round. There are numerous galleries of fine arts and artisanal works located in the historic downtown of Sebastopol, and at The Barlow. Plus, the Sebastopol Center for the Arts has rotating exhibitions in three galleries at its location in the Veteran’s Building.
Folk art is alive and well in Sebastopol. Check out the whimsical sculptures of Patrick Amiot, whose neighbors on Florence Ave graciously host his “junk art” characters made from tea kettles and alarm clocks, gas cans and buckets. There you will find mermaids, the Mad Hatter, Babe Ruth, Batman, Godzilla and wild-eyed Pele (the Soccer Player).
Sebastopol is rich with theater offerings, both the live stage and in cinema. Located at the primary intersection of Main St. and Bodega Ave (Highways 116 and 12), Main Stage West offers live performances with a unique pairing of a wine tasting room in the lobby. Rialto Cinemas provide access to art films as well as closed circuit broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, the Bolshoi Ballet, London’s National Theater Live broadcasts, tours of famous museums, and a delightful Academy Awards Viewing Party.
The Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is counted as one of the top 10 documentary events in the country with films presented from all over the world. The films cover topics from the light and entertaining to serious contemporary issues. Frequently the director, producer or a representative will be available after the screening to talk about the production and answer questions from the audience.
Casual Concerts occur monthly at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts and include a diverse showcase of local musical talent. From classical to Jazz and a sing-along Messiah at Christmas, there truly is something for everyone.
Summer evenings sport free concerts in the park. Sponsored by various community non-profits, it is not difficult in the summer to find an outdoor music venue that is family- and picnic-friendly. What a delightful way to enjoy the long evening hours in our temperate climate!
As for festivals, Sebastopol offers a world and historic tour. Consider the Sonoma County Folk Society’s Bluegrass Festival, in the spring at SCCC and The Sonoma County Taiko Drummers who delight visitors at the Enmanji Temple’s annual Teriyaki Barbeque each July. While those who are looking to let the good times roll, come to the Cajun Festival held annually over Labor Day weekend in September.