about the mendocino art center

Mendocino Art Center:
Thriving as an educational destination
for artists and art lovers.

The Mendocino Art Center
is a very special place overlooking the ocean from the top of the headlands. We have been a haven for professional artists and all levels of students since 1959. Today the Art Center is still a retreat away from the stress and clamor of the workaday world, where the soul can breath, the imagination takes wing, creativity realizes itself, and new acquaintances turn into friendships. The Mendocino Art Center is an educational, exhibition, and resource center for the visual and performing arts located 150 miles north of San Francisco in the quiet coastal village of Mendocino. The Art Center has earned national and international reputations which attract an impressive selection of renowned faculty members, yet has remained small enough for productive dialogues between students and teachers, professional artists and beginners.

The facilities at the Mendocino Art Center include studios and classrooms for painting, drawing, jewelry, ceramics, sculpture and fiber arts – home to approximately 150 workshops offered annually. Exhibition galleries provide exhibition opportunities to emerging and established artists. Twelve apartments are available for instructors, students and artists in residence. The Mendocino Art Center's Members' Gallery features fine art by local artists and members, and the Art Center's Helen Schoeni Theatre has been home to the acclaimed Mendocino Theatre Company since 1977.

The grounds are beautifully landscaped, primarily with native plants and the Zacha Sculpture Garden features not only sculpture but a lovely tiled courtyard surrounded by the art studios.


 a bit of art center history


Mendocino was a former mill town fallen on hard times when Bill and Jennie Zacha arrived in the 1950's. By 1959, with the help of many friends, artists, and townspeople the Zacha's dream of developing an art center became reality.

The Art Center was established on the grounds of the former Preston mansion, which was featured in the James Dean movie East of Eden. When the mansion burned to the ground in 1957, Bill Zacha acquired the entire park-like property with a $50 deposit. By 1959 the remaining carriage house had been converted to the nucleus of the Art Center, while other outbuildings and animal sheds became the first studios.

During the ensuing years, the history of the Art Center and Mendocino village became closely entwined. The Art Center became the focal point of a thriving art colony which revitalized the nearly abandoned town. Today Mendocino and the Art Center are a world-renowned haven for artists in all media.

To learn more about Bill Zacha and see his art, visit the Zacha's Bay Window Gallery online.


Visit our Board of Directors
page for meeting minutes, bylaws,
and more.

The Zacha Sculpture Garden Commemorative Walkway

The walkway honors founders, Bill and Jennie Zacha. A bronze bust of Bill Zacha leads into the beautifully landscaped courtyard surrounded by art studios and paved with personalized tiles and sculptures.

art center