Art Galleries in Odd Places - Dana Point, CA

The life of a suburban mom includes a lot of "travel." Travel to practice, school, friends, library, and the grocery. Mine includes a lot less to practice and games these days, but there are music lessons in Dana Point, CA twice a week, which are just far enough and long enough that I don't want to drive back home to San Clemente after dropping off. The week before Christmas I had my younger daughter in tow and we decided to check out a local strip mall type plaza nearby Danmans Music School. Mind you, Dana Point is the kind of place many people dream of going on vacation, and we just take the ocean view from this strip mall for granted. After I bored my daughter with stories of how we used to toss the football around on this cul-de-sac during half time of football games (before TiVo), we checked out the fish store, and then moseyed over to "The Mint." The Mint is an art gallery in an obscure corner of a strip mall on an obscure slice of the Del Prado/Pacific Coast Highway area. That said, it's a cool little place.

We met the owner, Mark, and were drawn in by the art work of Paul Bryan Jr. (who we never heard of) and were pleasantly surprised to see more than the local standard of surf and beach art. There was a large black and white Bob Dylan image and a Jimi Hendrix image in a window, and we went right in. Now, I grew up humbly, and am completely intimidated by art galleries, and love museums. My 13 year old however, thinks nothing of trying on $1000 dressed in boutiques for fun. We enjoyed the pop art from Bryan, but especially these wonderfully accessible "hoola hoop" pieces. They were stacked against the wall, and the canvas was framed around a hoola hoop. Images of the Gerber Baby, Smilee Face, the world, a clock and more Andy Warholesque pop art were fun to explore. Like all galleries though, I think artists and owners are out of touch with us real people. Without prices, it's fun like a museum, but we were too embarrasses to ask. No idea if these were $10,000 pieces or $100 pieces. Never-the-less, it was a fun way to burn a half our and act like tourists in our own backyard - and free!