Santa Monica’s 5-acre Bergamot Station is home to a thriving community of fine art galleries and creative arts spaces. Celebrating its 25th year, they are open for art at Bergamot Station. Its gallery owners balance the business of selling art with their passion for making art accessible to the Los Angeles community. Many a Saturday night will find gallery doors flung open with wine and light hors d’oeuvres flowing. Guests meander in and out of spaces. With its industrial-style buildings reminiscent of an urban warehouse district, Bergamot sits on the site of L.A.’s historic railroad. The locale returned to its roots with the opening of the Expo Line in 2016. This includes a 26th Street/Bergamot stop some say has expanded the destination’s audience.
Balancing Business and Community
The train has brought a lot of students who don’t have cars, according to Rose Shoshana, owner of ROSEGALLERY. This gallery recently moved to its current space, but has been at Bergamot for 20 years. Shoshana specializes in contemporary art, much of which is photo-based. She represents artists from Japan, Latin America and South Africa and says her gallery attracts curators from around the world. Yet she balances the need to be community-minded with the need to sell. She welcomes visitors, including school groups. Known for hosting shows with a “social perspective,” Shoshana says that her interests become the interests of the gallery.
Lois Lambert, is owner of her namesake gallery and one of the first Bergamot tenants 25 years ago. She represents 75 artists, some who have been with her since the beginning. Lambert looks for work that is “well-crafted by artists with a vision.” She travels to art shows around the world including Art Basel and the Venice Art Fair. She also owns the on-site Our Gallery Store, which carries all categories of art-related gifts. She even puts a few pieces of art from her gallery shows for sale in the store once an exhibit closes. Hillary Gruenber’s “Gratitude” exhibit runs through March 7. Look for works by Chris Fraticelli, Sebastian Boni and Dave Quick at the Lois Lambert Gallery, March 14 through May 9.
“The job of a true art gallery is not just to sell, but to be there for people who want the experience of compelling art,” explains William J. Sheehy, Executive Director of Latin American Masters (LAM). “It’s like a watering hole. People can walk around the edges and experience different aspects of the beauty of the world.” World-class art, available to the public with lots of free parking, is a rarity. Yet, that’s just what Bergamot Station offers.
Bergamot has faced some potential changes over the last few years. There is talk of a hotel being built on the site and a private development adjacent to the galleries under construction. Plus talk of retail shops and the already opened Birdie G’s restaurant. This local art enclave seems to have weathered any changing tide and is riding high into the next decade.
For a complete list of Bergamot Station art galleries and special events, visit bergamotstation.com.