Since joining the Union in 1850, California has supplied more citizens to the nation's common defense than any other state. The California State Military Museum celebrates that long tradition of service, standing as a reminder to future generations of the sacrifices made by those men and women.
Inside, more than 33,000 artifacts weave together an inspiring timeline, telling the tales of military icons such as William T. Sherman, Henry Halleck, and General George Patton. These men live on inside a number of exhibits that detail California's connection to historic events including the Civil War and World Wars I and II. During visits, guests can browse these displays, yell "medic!" for no reason, and pop into the image library, which is packed with black-and-white photographs as well as digital treasures.
The California Automobile Museum weaves the story of the automobile's birth and development through a gleaming collection of cars that dates back to the 1880s. Guests meander through 72,000 square feet of luxury and muscle vehicles, from pre–Model T Fords and green vehicles to Lamborghinis and modern NASCAR vehicles. In addition to its permanent collection and current exhibits, the museum's displays are always changing due to donations from private collectors and the hot rod fairy, allowing visitors to see a varying display of vehicles on different visits. The museum also offers a wide variety of classes that are fun and educational, and open to both adults and children. Guests can also visit the gift shop stocked with auto-centric goodies, including car-related fine-art photography, T-shirts, kids' arts and crafts, and die-cast models of classic cars.
Saskia Darnell, Lavender Screw's head artist, has been showcasing her artwork in galleries and exhibits since she was a child. In 2006, Saskia entered the student art exhibit at the Los Angeles County Fair and took home first place, and was featured in seven other art exhibits while earning her bachelor's in fine art. Students of all levels can enjoy BYOB classes, which feature a variety of paintings for students to emulate through step-by-step instruction. Paint Your Pet nights invite artists to transform a blank canvas into a colorful homage to their dog, cat, or secretly cloned woolly mammoth.
Comparisons to New York City's top galleries quickly arose around Verge Center for the Arts when Jesse Powell opened the nonprofit in 2009. It's easy to see why: the 6,000 square feet of exhibition space and 20-foot high ceilings houses a global array of contemporary art in various mediums, from paint and video to performance. But opening a critically acclaimed gallery was only the tip of the iceberg for Jesse.
These days, the 22,000-square-foot center houses 37 studios for emergent artists, more than half of which were built by the tenants/artists themselves. Reading materials on contemporary art abound in the center's library lounge, while an in-house lab lets community members create their own prints. Throughout the year, Verge even hosts events and classes that run the gamut from artists lectures to workshops on learning to draw via mind control.
When Trisha Rhomberg and Olivia Coelho opened their vintage clothing store in 2007, that's all it was: a boutique for their vintage finds, and later for their own line of handmade wearables. Now the space is a charming chimera of art, clothes, and food, a hub for quirky culture and innovation. Behind the retail section, chefs from Fat Face serve up a simple and deliberate menu in a cozy café profiled by CBS. After a pressed sandwich or creative popsicle, diners relax with one of six craft beers on tap or a glass of sangria. Monthly art showcases display emerging talent in an airy gallery space, and the art collections even extend to Bows and Arrows' bathrooms. The multifaceted space also hosts live music acts and other gatherings, such as the regular Nerd Night for gamers, highlighted in the Sacramento Press.
Gina Rossi's art comes to life in a flurry of sparks and cauldrons of heat. A self-taught artist and certified metal-inert-gas (MIG) welder, her work incorporates fused glass, paintings, and organic metal figures, and has been featured in the Sacramento Press, as well as KCRA Channel 3 news. When she was young, Rossi's forays into art and imagination provided stable solace from her tumultuous and oft-troubled childhood, and her passion eventually flowered into a full-time endeavor. Through her growth as an artist, she adopted a trash-into-treasure approach, working with recycled metal and glass, and earning notoriety for getting Oscar the Grouch evicted to craft a piece from his former home. Her regular welding and fused-glass-art classes share her talents with eager students, as do her efforts with community art projects, which empower young, disabled, and elderly people to make their creative mark in the world.