Long Beach Art Lovers Launch City’s First Gallery Guide


Photo courtesy of Phonebooth Gallery

From the Second Saturday Art Walk in the East Village to First Fridays in Bixby Knolls, it’s more than obvious that Long Beach has a robust and thriving art community. But where and when can you experience the city’s diverse art scene outside of the more well-known monthly blowouts?

Meet the Long Beach Gallery Guide, a start-up website still in beta mode that is attempting to compile all the current exhibitions, shows and spaces that support local art. Developed and currently maintained by a small team of Long Beach residents and art lovers, the Long Beach Gallery Guide features an up-to-date calendar of openings and events (as compiled from submissions as well as other sources) within city limits and is the first visual art compendium of its kind in the city.

“Though art centers like the East Village or Bixby Knolls can be self supportive of the businesses in the community, there is a need to give Long Beach residents a grander vision of whats happening in the city as a whole, as well as where to go on any given day to experience a new style or genre of visual art being supported by those around them,” says Garry Booth, one of the site’s co-founders and owner of the Phonebooth Gallery on Broadway.

In the short amount of time that Booth and his crew have been compiling venues and shows, it’s already clear that all sizes, shapes and styles of visual arts are alive and well in Long Beach. Nearly 20 galleries—including not only traditional white-walled spaces but also restaurants, coffee shops, wine bars and retail boutiques that have rotating art on the walls—are already listed under the “art venues” tab and the calendar is full of openings happening on weekdays as well as weekends.

Current shows vary from a presentation of contemporary textile art to an exhibition of Long Beach vacation ephemera.

LBgalleryguide“That may be the beauty of the guide,” says Booth. “Almost every gallery in Long Beach concentrates on a different genre and style of art. It reflects not only the community of Long Beach, but also gives insight into individual interests of its residents.”

Still in its formative stages, the Gallery Guide is a passion project in progress. The gallery and calendar list is by no means complete, and, according to Booth, art spaces are constantly changing, moving closing and opening in Long Beach. It will rely on input from those who create and present art as well as those who will utilize the site to determine its future amenities and direction.

“[We hope to create] a greater awareness for the visual arts in the city of Long Beach, on all fronts,” says Booth. “Of course we’d like to support the businesses and artists, but this is about getting art lovers that live and visit our city physically in front of something new.”

To add your art event or gallery to the Long Beach Gallery Guide, email [email protected].

Editor’s note: Garry Booth is an occasional contributor to the Post; his previous articles on the art and artists of Long Beach are available here.

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Sarah Bennett is a contributor to the Hi-lo and the editor-at-large at the Long Beach Post. She is also a professor at Santa Ana College where she was once a student before transferring to USC to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Sarah has written about music, art, food and beer in local, national and international publications for over a decade. An L.A. native and longtime resident of Long Beach, she is the co-founder of Long Beach Zine Fest and managing editor at theLAnd magazine. She never sleeps.