Readers' Poll

40 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 arts and entertainment one type of art or the other, Carmel Art Association offers a variety all at once. Its old but spacious headquarters remains the current center of the Carmel art life. It’s been open since 1927, when it was founded by the first 19 members. Among distinguished members one can find such names as Salvador Dali or Jo Mora. No matter when you decide to visit, a few exhibits will be on display and among them the best of what local artists have on offer. Best Photo Gallery Center for Photographic Art In the Sunset Center, San Carlos between 8th and 9th, Carmel (831) 625-5181, Claiming to be the second-oldest members’ photography organization in the U.S., the nonprofit Center for Photographic Art is the best place to see local and regional photography. Launched in 1967 by the best in California at the time—Ansel Adams, Cole Weston and Wynn Bullock—the gallery is still committed to having regular new photography exhibits, presenting local photographers such as Martha Casanave, and slightly less local, like the master of suburban domestic scenes from the East Bay, Bill Owens. CPA organizes annual juried competitions, lectures and members’ nights. Contemporary photography is the name of the game. Best Local Artist Erin Lee Gafill 48510 Highway 1, Big Sur (831) 238-2837, Erin Gafill has a resume that helps explain why she is the best. The award-winning artist, teacher and author from Big Sur was honored as a Champion of the Arts in 2008 by the Arts Council for Monterey County, and the State of California. She is an artist member of the Carmel Art Association. She teaches regularly at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, in Italy and at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. She also offers creativity and painting workshops online and in-person. But it’s less about her accolades than it is her art—abstracted landscapes, plein air and still-life paintings that are at once familiar and unthinkably beautiful— that make her the best. Best Local Band | The Money Band