Gualala Salon & Salon des Refusés


Presented by the North Coast Artists Guild


Gualala Arts Center


Find Salon registration form here

Spring/Allegory by Loraine Toth won 1st Place in the 2019 Salon

The Gualala Salon and Salon des Refusés has earned a reputation as the top judged and juried fine art exhibit on the Mendonoma coast. Organized and curated by the North Coast Artists Guild, the exhibit is held annually at the Gualala Arts Center and fills three large gallery spaces with over one hundred pieces of fine art. Prestigious artists, art dealers, academics and collectors are recruited to be judges.

The judges decide which artwork will be accepted and shown in the main Burnett Gallery. Work not juried into the Salon by the judges is displayed in the Salon des Refusés, located in the foyer and auditorium. Thus, all artwork submitted into the show is exhibited. Which artists have been selected into the Salon is a tightly held secret until opening night.

We are fortunate to have April and Ron Dammann as this year’s judges. April is a well-known art historian and gallery archivist; Ron is a third-generation art dealer. Their full biography can be found here.

Many artists save their best new art for this exhibit, which showcases outstanding visual art without regard to type of media. The award prizes are the largest offered on the coast, with a $1,000 first prize, $750 second prize, and $500 third prize. In addition, works in the Salon des Refusés are eligible for a first prize of $100, second prize of $75 and third prize of $50. Additional awards include: a Judges Award of $100 for the best work by an artist under eighteen years of age; a Collage Group Award of $100 for best collage; and a Founders Award of $100 awarded by the three founders of the Salon show.

Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe, by Édouard Manet
Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, by Édouard Manet

The original Salon des Refusés exhibition took place in Paris in 1863, showing works that had been rejected by the official Paris Salon judges. These judges represented the French Academy and were advocates of a traditional, orthodox style of painting and sculpture. In 1863, they rejected almost 3,000 pieces of work, including many now considered masterpieces such as Manet’s Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe and Whistler’s Symphony in White, No. 1.

The resulting furor led Emperor Napoleon III to mandate that a second exhibition (dubbed the “Salon des Refuses”) be organized­­, so that the public might judge the merits of the artwork themselves. In the spirit of the original Paris Salon des Refusés, all visitors to the Gualala Salon des Refusés are able to vote for the “People’s Choice” awards. In fact, many artists prefer to be selected as a “refusé” to receive the public’s opinion. This is a wonderful opportunity for artists to stretch themselves and experiment.

The 2020 Salon will be held in June this year to take advantage of better weather and the large number of visitors who travel to the area during the summer months.