Art By The Rock

27 Jan


  • The Gallery at Marina Square opened in 2003
  • A unique co-op of artists runs the Gallery
  • Two artists share what makes the Gallery unique

Tucked away above Morro Bay’s Embarcadero, The Gallery at Marina Square is decidedly different from most art galleries in that it’s literally manned and operated by the artists themselves. Sixty-two artists currently feature their work in the bright space, each displaying their wares on personal walls and trading off working shifts.

Owner Nona Jane Siragusa was originally part of a group of artists with space at the Creamery in San Luis Obispo. “We decided that we did not want a traditional community type of co-op because it was too many meetings,” she said, adding, “everyone had to vote and we never got anything done.”

Desiring change, Siragusa began scouting out locations and eventually opened the current gallery in July of 2003. “We needed to have a really good location that had a lot of foot traffic,” she explained. What she found was a space on the upper level of the Marina Square building on the Embarcadero. During the summer months, tourists throng the salty thoroughfare, and even the quiet winter season sees steady traffic.

All of the Gallery’s artists must have a local address, and their work–much of which focuses on the beauty of the Central Coast–reflects this. “We have a lot of different mediums,” Siragusa said, which include:

  • watercolors
  • pastels
  • mosaics
  • jewelry
  • pencil and ink
  • glass blowing
  • photography

Siragusa tries to keep a balance between mediums, and spoke about the Gallery’s bevy of photographers. “Each photographer has their own little niche. Some have their own darkrooms; others shoot in digital high definition,” she explained. “It’s very important that we keep a balance of everything.”

Photographer Donald Quintana stands before his work at the Gallery.

Nature photographer Donald Quintana is a newcomer to the Gallery, although the photos he has on display suggested that he’s no beginner at what he does. “I had never really displayed my art before, and friends and family were pushing me to do it,” he said. “This opportunity just opened up. I came to a previous reception here and met Jane [Siragusa], and she asked me if I wanted to display my work here, so I said sure!”

Quintana explained that he likes the fact that all the artists contribute, as well as the Gallery’s location. Fellow artist Galen Griswold, who works with oils and acrylic, expressed similar thoughts about the uniqueness of the space and the work within.

“I like the quality of art in the gallery,” he said. “The people in that gallery are just incredible human beings and their art is an extension of what they do, and I really like that.”

Griswold’s art features scenic locales from the Central Coast and beyond, expressed in vivid hues that invite viewers to let their eyes linger awhile. “I believe that all art is a dialogue with nature,” he said, adding that energy and bright colors typify his paintings.

“It’s the community of artists that makes the gallery what it is.” -Galen Griswold

Open daily at 10am, the Gallery is a quiet escape from the bustle of the Embarcadero below. Stroll through the displays, chat with local artists, pick up a piece of art to take home, and be willing to step back and admire the Gallery as a whole. Griswold summed up the space succinctly : “The gallery itself is a piece of art.”


3 Responses to “Art By The Rock”

  1. Susan Wood February 1, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Thanks for the great post about our gallery!
    Susan Wood

    • kkenney90 February 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

      You are so welcome! Glad you like it 🙂

  2. lizzyleapin March 5, 2014 at 6:54 am #


    I learned of you through Kathy
    Asdel 🙂 I also know Jeff Odell from my friend Genevieve.

    I’m interested in displaying my. please

    I hope. to. sell work.

    How would I get. started please…may I come by to meet you and talk?

    Thanks kindly,

    Elizabeth Read

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