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Huntington Beach Art Center Exhibit of Surfing Museum and California Surfer

Huntington Beach--Huntington Beach's Centered on the Center, an annual non-jury art show in which anybody can enter if they pay the fee and get in line as the first 150 or so, includes some pop culture humor.

Above is Randy Lyford, board member at the HB International Surfing Museum, who stands next to a statue of a surfer wearing the surfing museum's logo shirt and hat, a green pair of shades, and carrying a surfboard. Lyford, who's a docent at the surf museum located several blocks from the HB Art Center, points at the sculpture at the Centered on the Center reception held free as a premier of the unveiled works. There's a friendship between the two museums, and the surfing museum has even lent items from its inventory for exhibits at the Art Center such as On Board.

Now over 10 years in existence, Centered on the Center draws the largest crowds of any unveiling for artist and public receptions at the public/private partnership museum. One of three museums in Huntington Beach that are all examples of such partnerships, admission to the Art Center is free. (The other two museums are the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum and the Newland House Museum.)

Wander from this art-centered museum several blocks to the surfing museum where art is also included in exhibits, and there's a chance you'll see Lyford welcoming guests and giving surfing tours. Lyford is an avid surfer who's surfed most of his life. He shares his passion for the water sport with tourists who visit from around the globe.

The Huntington Beach Art Center offers art camps for kids, adult courses, rental space, concerts and rotating art exhibits. Course information is offered on the City of Huntington Beach web site ( under the "residents" category. Look for a publication called the Sands. This is where you'll also find announcements about the Centered on the Center event and calls for artists to register to enter their works.

What else: Located in downtown Huntington Beach on the fifth block of Main Street, the hotels within walking distance (one mile or less) offer a full beach vacation that can be experienced in conjunction with a trip to Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm theme parks. For those who just prefer a weekend or stay at the beach, you can take in this little museum and the International Surfing Museum, plus the beach for exercise and entertainment. While some wander into the Pierside Gallery for popular art in a small space, wander to the Hyatt Regency to see a stand alone gallery called The HB Gallery. The top representative for Todd White art, this gallery is in a light, bright space, and features the works of many local best-sellers such as Toreen West.

Where to eat: Right next to the Huntington Beach Art Center is one of our favorite little Thai cafes, Thai Wave. Offering five different types of curry dishes on their menu, you can customize your meals with the amount of spice you like. Prices are quite affordable. Across the street and half a block away are two additional favorites, Jan's Health Food kitchen, a very small order counter with a few tables in and outside the cafe; and Bodhi Tree vegetarian Chinese. Their spin-offs on meat are really good, as are their soups.

Where to stay: On the low end, $110 - 200 approx. is Best Western Huntington Beach Inn. It overlooks the beach and Huntington Beach Pier.  The top tier hotels you can walk to include Hyatt Regency and Hilton.  For those with cars who want to save more, drive to either the north end of Pacific Coast Highway three to five miles distance to find five hotels in the affordable range, or go east on Beach Boulevard where you'll discover three or four properties ranging from Howard Johnson, Best Western and Comfort Suites to Hotel Huntington Beach near the HB Bella Terra Mall.

Huntington Beach Art Center
538 Main Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Hours: Wednesday - Saturday - 12 noon - 6 pm;

Sunday - 12 noon - 4 pm;

Closed Monday - Tuesday