Yosemite's best art museums and art galleries are not many in number, but they feature some world famous material in landscape photography and artworks. The very first party of tourists to Yosemite, in 1855 included the artist Thomas Ayres. His first-ever sketches of Yosemite Falls were quickly published and the granite canyon became well-known in short order. Ayres was followed by the grand masters of romantic/dramatic American landscapes: Moran, Bierstadt and Hill. Thomas Hill settled in Yosemite and opened a studio where he made his living for many decades. His studio is still in use today - as the Wawona Visitor Center - and is still filled with his huge landscapes.
Few artists are more identified with Yosemite than photographer Ansel Adams. He grew up in San Francisco, but came to Yosemite with a camera as a young man. He married the daughter of a photographer who already had a studio in (the old) Yosemite Village. Before long, Adams took over his father-in-law's business and it still exists today, as the Ansel Adams Gallery. This shop (in the current Yosemite Village) is well worth a stop for anyone, but especially photographers. In addition to the specialization in Adams' work, there are rotating exhibits of other artists and photographers (including some very talented park locals).
On the opposite side of the Valley Visitor Center from the Ansel Adams Gallery is the park's Museum Gallery, just off of the Indian Museum. (The Indian Museum has a display of some astonishing baskets woven by local women over the years.) The Museum Gallery rotates 2-4 exhibits a year. Each spring is the juried Yosemite Renaissance set-up. In the summer, the park usually posts a special exhibition of Yosemite works or historical materials.
A shop and gallery featuring Ansel's photography and much more... read more
Free art classes in Yosemite Village... read more
Village Drive & Castle Cliffs Court
Wawona Hotel Drive, off 41
(near Wawona Hotel in Yosemite Valley)
Your best first stop if coming in from the south...