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15 of the Best Art Galleries Enlivening SoCal College Campuses

August 16, 2018

Baca art installation shot
Installation view of “The Great Wall of Los Angeles: Judith F Baca’s Experiments in Collaboration and Concrete” CSUN/Photo: Michelle Nunes

Reposted from LA WEEKLY

Hollywood may be known as a mecca for movie dream–chasing creative types, but all that talent can't be restricted to the 30-square-mile bounds of Tinseltown — or even the silver screen. The truth is, the visual arts have long been a vital and integral part of the local cultural scene, with generations of artists living and thriving here. These days, though, with so much art to experience throughout Greater Los Angeles, it's exceedingly apparent that Southern California isn't just attracting movie-industry dreamers — world-class visual artists are here to stay, too. Maybe it's the weather; maybe it's the light; maybe it's the wave of new local, national and even international art galleries opening their doors in L.A.

One major factor, however, is undeniably SoCal's abundance of colleges and universities that take arts education so seriously that they've invested in impressive art galleries for the benefit of students and the public alike. In fact, we had some trouble narrowing the list of excellent on-campus art galleries to 15 — but we wanted to focus on not just the best but the more hidden gems that folks are least likely to know about. While you're making the rounds, take a look around your own neighborhood and explore your community's institutions of higher learning: You might just find a cultural treasure in your own backyard.

CSUN Art Galleries (excerpt)

It's something of a tradition to make fun of the idea that there's no culture in the San Fernando Valley. The CSUN Art Galleries prove that idea is very, very wrong. Since 1980, Cal State Northridge has hosted more than 500 exhibitions, with an annual average of 25,000 people coming through to see the art in the Main Gallery and the West Gallery, which collectively comprise nearly 3,500 square feet of exhibition space. That means the galleries not only serve the students but also have helped raise the cultural profile of the San Fernando Valley itself. CSUN Art Galleries, Cal State Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; (818) 677-2156,; free.