Community Voices
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One of Dave Clark’s micro-art galleries in Long Beach. Click top right to enlarge. (photo: Instagram)

For my most recent birthday, my husband Fred bought me a micro-art gallery conceived, built, and installed in front of our home by the artist Dave Clark. 

If you know me, it’s the perfect gift — we get to display art for our neighbors, and who knows, maybe we’ll start a trend in the neighborhood.

This all began because local artist Micheal Stearns told me about his friend, Dave, who builds these very small micro-art galleries in his Wrigley neighborhood in Long Beach. 

Dave and his lovely wife Carol invited us into their art-filled home. I say “art-filled” because every bit of wall space was adorned with terrific pieces of art from many genres.

Intrigued by this former math teacher-turned-artist, I asked Dave a few questions about his life and work.

How do you describe your artwork?

Artist Dave Clark. (photo: Tony Pinto)

CLARK: My work often acts as a receptacle for other people’s associations and thoughts. I am more curious in hearing what people feel my art means or represents than stating what it means to me. This conversation that happens with the viewer and my work is a primary interest of mine.

The process of making my work is intuitive and playful. Color, shapes, the application of various materials such as dyes, plaster, metal, wood, acrylics, and wire are the tools I use to create an object that may give associations differing from person to person. The forms are sometimes suggestive of functional objects, memories, or what some people might see in their dreams.

How did you get your start as an artist?

CLARK: The short answer is that ever since I can remember, I have either drawn or painted something. From posters/logos of bands to buildings and houses to abstract[s] or seascapes. It wasn’t till I was in college and met people in the arts program at the university, running a co-op art gallery, that I found my calling. This led to many shows and changes in direction over the past 48 years, and here I am today, doing what I do.  

Why did you decide to start making these little micro-art galleries?

CLARK: Carol and I wanted to offer artists an alternative venue to that of the traditional gallery to show their work: one that reached the public and one where it was cost-free to show. The idea of building a “micro-art gallery” made sense. One that sat in a public space.

With that, we saw the opportunity to create an “arts district” here in Wrigley and hope to see more sprouting up in the neighborhood.

How many are there, and where are they located?

One of Dave Clark’s micro-art galleries in Long Beach. (photo: Instagram)

CLARK: Currently, there are four, spaced over three blocks on our street, with a fourth on the other side of Long Beach. Additionally, there are two more: one in San Pedro and another in Lomita. We curate the one in front of our house (Gallery 17) and the one next door (Gallery 23) with exhibits lasting four weeks. 

Are these little art galleries limited editions?

 CLARK: The number is somewhat of a “limited edition” in that it is the summation of the address where it sits. Anyone with the appropriate space and who is local can get one by contacting me through my website ( I only charge $450, which covers the cost of materials.

Tell us about Gallery 19 here in San Pedro.

CLARK: Our micro-gallery in San Pedro (Gallery 19 – named for our Meyler Street address 1+7+3+8=19) is located on 18th Street near Meyler and is displaying Micheal Stearns’ artwork until July 2024. 

Michael is a committed gallerist and elder statesman of the San Pedro Arts District. In 2012, Michael moved his studio and gallery from Long Beach to San Pedro. His current gallery is Michael Stearns Studio 347 in the San Pedro Arts District (, on the second floor of the Los Angeles Harbor Arts at 4th and Mesa.

While you’re there, check out our garage door – it sports a mural by Jules Muck, aka Muckrock. spt

For more information, visit You can also check out his micro-art galleries on Instagram @gallery17lb. 

Linda Grimes

Linda Grimes is a retired sales and marketing geek with a passion for art, design, and creative placemaking. She serves as the Executive Director of the San Pedro Waterfront Arts District and can be reached at

For more info, visit