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Guerneville’s Thriving Art Community - Behind the Blue Door


 Behind the Blue Door

Guerneville's Thriving Art Community


By Doug Devivo

The little town of Guerneville has become over the last few years, Sonoma County’s premier destination for unique art. 

Most of the eleven galleries in the downtown area are artist-owned, which allows visitors to meet and talk with the actual creators of the work. It also allows artists carte blanche to create whatever they’re moved to create and to display it however they wish.  

One of the first and most eclectic is the Blue Door Gallery owned and operated by Douglas DeVivo and Mary Livingston.  They show their own artwork along with that of Petaluma ceramist Jess Stimson. Mary and Douglas have working studios attached to the gallery and everyone is welcome to come in and view the art in progress.

Mary and Douglas see their gallery as much more than just creating and displaying art. The gallery itself is an art piece that is always evolving and an extension of their belief of looking at the world in a upbeat positive way to create social change by doing what they do best: having fun and letting the creativity flow. That energy radiates out from the Blue Door Gallery into the community and it’s easy to see that with the many positive changes that have developed in Guerneville in the last few years. 

Douglas’s collage work which he creates entirely by hand is big, bold, fun and deep with content.  Mary’s highly imaginative clothing made from recycled and vintage materials, along with her paintings, chandeliers, and most recently huge jellyfish made from umbrellas, scarves and fabrics is all pure magic. Jesse’s whimsical high fire porcelain ceramics with an aquatic theme round out the gallery.  It all works together in a way that is refreshing and encourages visitors to take their time and browse. 

Guerneville’s First-Friday ArtWalk, well into its third year, is a big event for the towns’ galleries and the artisans along the street, but especially for the Blue Door where the community art projects have been a tradition since the Art Walks started. People gather around Douglas’s huge worktable and create projects that are simple self-directed and designed so the whole family can participate.  They create Magic wands, whimsical hats, Mr. Potato Heads using real russet potatoes, to name a few. Watching people create with glue, paper and imagination is inspirational.

  Behind the studios is a private backyard garden, an intimate space Mary and Doug carved from a dirt lot, where they host a range of summertime live music and poetry.

So come spend a day in Guerneville.  Visit the redwoods, swim in the river and get lost in the art. 

Guerneville is fast becoming known as an art lover’s destination lying at the heart of one of Mother Nature’s most finely crafted works of art.

Check out the Blue Door Gallery's Facebook page and keep up with the fun!