Over the weekend I had a birthday cake to deliver in Santa Ana. On the way back, the 55 was stopped, so my husband decided to take surface streets back to Tustin bringing us through downtown Santa Ana. I’d been wanting to check out a store nearby for awhile now and thought this was the perfect opportunity. I’ve heard people talk about the Santa Ana Artist Village but even though it’s close by, had never been see what it’s all about. We decided to take the time to do a little exploring.
When I think of Santa Ana, what comes to mind are County services, industrial buildings, bodegas and colorful neighborhoods full of historic homes – not necessarily a place where artists convene. The Artist Village is located in the heart of Santa Ana and is nestled between 1st, 4th, Main and Broadway streets. Orange County High School of the Arts and the Bowers Museum are just down the street. Cal State Fullerton offers its Masters Art degree students studio/loft/gallery space at a very discounted rate, which is probably the main reason why artists have migrated to the area. Street parking is a little tricky, so we chose to park in the parking structure on 3rd street. Luckily, the rates are pretty low with a daily maximum of $7.00.
As the name states, you can find art in the Artist Village – lots of it! There are a ton of galleries, though not many were open on Sunday. We were happy to wander around the gorgeous buildings and press our faces against the windows to see what was on display. What’s cool about these galleries is that they’re located in beautiful historic buildings (many of which built during the Art Deco era), and have the original wood floors and natural lighting from stained glass ceilings.
Our goal was to visit a store called The Road Less Traveled which is owned by Delilah. This store offers anything you may need to make your own crafts – from sewing to cheese making. This is the place to go if you want to learn how to preserve your own foods, or make homemade cheese. The store even offers sewing classes and how to start your own business workshops. This is a haven for creative people! The store is shared by another business called Belly Sprouts which offers breastfeeding support groups, cloth diapers, baby carriers and even cosmetics for mom. They’re located next to both Memphis and The Gypsy Den – popular restaurants with outdoor seating.
On our way back to the car, we passed by another collaborative store – GCS Santa Ana. At first glance, you see that it’s a clothing store with urban prints. What drew us to it was the awesome art in their display. It was our favorite out of all the art we’d seen. It intrigued us, so we looked a little closer and noticed there was an art gallery in the back of the store and decided to go in to look. On the right there are two HUGE cases full of spray paint and paint markers – my favorite! At the end of the store, is a gallery with lots of art in all types of styles from screen print and paint marker to clay sculptures.
Every shop owner I talked to mentioned First Saturdays which is the monthly art walk. Judging by the signs left over from the previous art walk which read “NO ALCOHOL IN ENTIRE BUILDING”, I’d guess it’s a pretty lively event. You can find more information about the art walk at www.santaanaartwalk.com. I’m looking forward to checking this out! More information on the village can be found at www.aplaceforart.com