Sausalito Art Festival impresses for 65th consecutive year

Amanda Morse

“I’ve always been painting. I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t drawing or doodling or something like that. My mom says that I was painting before I was walking,” artist Santiago Michalek said, an oil painter from Utah returning to the Sausalito Art Festival for his seventh consecutive year.

No matter what medium, whether it be a drawing, painting, carving, or sculpture, it can be found at the annual Sausalito Art Festival. For the past 65 years, the festival has never let down its art-loving crowd. 

Each year, the festival draws in over 30,000 people from all over the country, most from the Bay Area who come to appreciate the selected artists. The support that the visitors continue to provide brings in over 260 artists each year according to the festival.

Whether it’s a local Bay Area artist, or one who has never seen the Golden Gate Bridge, artists are gathered together to showcase their diverse work. 

One of the Rajner’s surfboards being painted
One of the Rajner’s surfboards being painted.

Michalek combines images from the thousands of photographs he has taken to form a new composite painting, creating his own style of oil paintings. 

“I’ve always kind of had a fascination for transportation, vintage mechanical [old cars, planes, etc.], that kind of stuff is interesting to me,” Michalek said.

Combining his two interests of mechanics and figurative work, Michalek has received extremely positive feedback from those who view his paintings. 

San Diego artist Jim Rajner and his wife Ramona create unique surfboards, carving each one differently. Right outside the doors of their beach house, the Rajners’ see surfers, scuba divers, and sea creatures, inspiring them to create new designs.

After finding out that it takes over a million years for a surfboard to decompose in the dump, Rajner decided that he wanted to make use of his old surfboards, leading him to create some of his initial models.

“I was just plain bored. I had a triple bypass [surgery] and I had about 12 old boards in my garage and I couldn’t do anything because I was still in the healing process, so I just started playing around with them,” Jim Rajner said.

Over time, the process of creating the artwork on the boards became quicker, going from over two weeks to just two days.

With such a strong art program here at Redwood, this festival gains the interest of many students within the school’s community. Some go to observe the art and others go in order to give back to the community by volunteering at different parts of the festival. 

Junior Mackenzie Kenneally sitting at the kids table where she volunteers every year
Junior Mackenzie Kenneally sitting at the kids table where she volunteers every year.

Annually, the festival usually has over 1,000 volunteers. This year, junior Mackenzie Kenneally returned to volunteer for her fifth year in a row.

“I’ve really enjoyed it because I love working the crafts section. You get to talk to the kids, also their parents, while they’re doing the different drawings or paintings,” Kenneally said. 

According to Kenneally, the festival has improved greatly since she first became involved with it as there are many more additions to the artist lineup and the children’s center as well.