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Sierra Art Trails: A vibrant art scene in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains

Skull art work: Sierra Art Trails: The Yosemite Foothills open studio tour
Skull art work: Sierra Art Trails: The Yosemite Foothills open studio tour
Jonathan Cook

Carmel, Cambria, San Francisco, Los Angeles? These are well known regions for their vibrant and popular art scenes, but few people thing about the Fresno region when thinking of great art. Well, think again!

Sierra Art Trails skull
Jonathan Cook

Within a 45 minute drive of Fresno/Clovis is the vibrant art community of Oakhurst, California. Everyone in the region knows Oakhurst as the quaint mountain community on the way to Yosemite National Park via the southern entrance from Highway 41. However, few people pause here longer than a gas and food pit stop.

Stop and view the Roses
Instead of passing through, stop and make your day trip destination the art scene in Oakhurst. Not only will you be pleasantly surprised by the number of galleries in the area featuring local artists (over 100 artists listed), but also by the incredible diversity of art styles and mediums (at least 22 featured mediums). You will find, spread amongst the local galleries, fine acrylic, oil, watercolor and photographic art as well as ceramic, fiber, glass, jewelry, furniture, sculpture, woodworking and much more.

You can make the trip to Oakhurst any time as the permanent galleries are open most days of the week and throughout the year. However, to take advantage of the largest display of artists, mediums, galleries and studios you should make special plans to attend the three-day Sierra Art Trails event held each fall.

Visit during the Sierra Art Trails
The 2014 Sierra Art Trails will be held this fall on October 3, 4 and 5 from 10 am to 6 pm each day. A minimal cost will get you entrance to over 50 exhibit locations throughout the beautiful Sierra foothills surrounding Oakhurst. Exhibits can be found in Yosemite Lakes Park, Oakhurst, North Fork, Ahwahnee and Mariposa. Don't worry about finding all of the exhibits as you will receive a highest quality printed color catalog listing all of the locations (with custom maps to guide you) along with full color examples, descriptions of each artists work, contact information and details about the Sierra Art Trails event.

Attend the preview exhibits
There will also be a month of preview exhibits scheduled for September 6 through October 5, 2014 at the Stellar Gallery in Oakhurst. Here you can view examples by all of the participating artists and determine which artists you will visit during the event. Be sure to hang on to your catalog, as the information is valid throughout the year. Most artists are available by appointment year-round and you may want to consider commissioning your own fine art piece.

Fine art is not reserved for the elitist big cities or coastal art colonies. A long lunch up the road in Oakhurst will introduce you to world-class art in the beautiful relaxed setting of the Sierra mountains in the quiet town of Oakhurst and its surroundings. Don't just pass through. Stop and view the roses!