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Best Art Galleries in San Jose

May 19, 2021 (Last updated)

4 min read

Rich in cultural and artistic energy, San Jose is home to up and coming as well as experienced artists. The spirit of the city's art scene is exhibited by its independent art galleries, most of which are relatively small. This should not deter you from visiting this diverse art scene as it is the intimacy of it that gives it quite the charm. 

Here is a list of some of the city's best art galleries you should not miss while visiting. 

Montalvo Arts Center

Montalvo Arts Center offers a setting for people to engage in the artistic process. The center act as an attraction for individuals to discover their artistic and cultural outlooks. They feature a collection of historical art and multitalented artists, looking to put their talent on display. The heart has beautifully structured gardens, a lovely lawn area to sit and take in the beauty, and a 1912-style villa. 

It further accents the famous Clair Loftus Carriage House and Lilian Fontaine theatre. If you want to take a hike, there are over 100 acres of land, surrounded by redwood trees. Furthermore, they provide multidisciplinary art programs which provide opportunities for upcoming artists to engage with the local communities. 

Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose

The Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose features a vast amount of learning opportunities for children through play and hands-on learning. Their goal is for children to feel inspired in their environment, as well as curious about their surroundings. They do this by partnering both with parents and educators to assist the children in their experience as well. Their services have a variety of strategic ways of teaching children. This includes but is not limited to early childhood development, environmental stewardship, and creative exploration. If you visit San Jose with your family, the Children's Discovery Museum is a must-stop! 

The Institute of Contemporary Art San Jose

Founded in 1980, the Institute has been an integral member of the arts community in San Jose for many years. Its engaging visual arts and public affairs make it a bedrock for artists to display their creative spirit. In the early 2000s, the ICA made a big decision to purchase a 7,000-square-foot building, which expanded their programming significantly. 

Annually, they put on 8 – 12 exhibitions displaying all forms of media. The events drive crowds to the galleries each month. Public programs include artists' presentations and portfolio reviews. Because of this, the ICA attracts nearly 20,000 plus visitors per year. 


Kaleid, the Greek word for beauty and form, is a gallery filled with fine arts, limited editions, and creative gifts. It houses more than 50 fine artists and designers from the San Jose area. These artists range from the young and rising stars to well-known creatives. Each exhibit includes sculpture, ceramics, photography, glass, jewelry, and textile art. 

During First Fridays, Kaleid showcases two exhibits. They also give visitors the chance to communicate with the hosted artists. During 'Two Buck Tuesdays', an inspiring performance from the gallery every third Tuesday of the month, smaller-sized unique works of art are on sale for $2. This is a must-go event that features workshops, music, and special performances. 

Works Gallery

Founded in 1977 by local artists, Works is a non-profit run by volunteers which showcases alternative art and faithfully provides a space for artists, creative ideas, and images to expand the range of artistic experience and to challenge the confines of contemporary art as we know it. It serves as a South Bay community's creative workroom where people can create and share art with each other.

Shows take place and alternate monthly, while all of the art is created by local artists of the San Jose area. Broad well-lit spaces and concrete flooring give the gallery a contemporary and pristine atmosphere, making it a chic location to drop by either after a long workday or during a relaxed weekend. 

The De Saisset Museum

This diverse museum has featured artists and artwork across the globe since the early 1950s. They began with a collection of compositions from Ernest de Saisset, which has grown to almost 100. There is also art displayed from the Renaissance period, featuring both European and American artists. Additionally, they feature a small selection of Asian artwork, as well as present-day California artists. 

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