By Elizabeth Del Cid, 18, North Hollywood HS
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Here is a sampling of the funky post cards you can pick up at Bergamot Station.

The place didn’t look like I expected. The galleries’ white and rusty façades made it appear like an industrial complex at first glance. I didn’t think there would be much to see here. No tourists, no art critics, no Americana memorabilia.

"I don’t think this area is safe," my brother told me. "I’ll go inside with you."

Next to an eerie factory building, we stepped into building G on 2525 Michigan Ave., one of a series from A to J at Bergamot. After looking through eight of the 40 or so galleries at the Station, I found this art hot spot pretty neat.

Its interior is far from jaded and manufactured. In fact, its warm white walls and inviting content of all genres made for a fun trip in beachy Santa Monica.

I found the stationery store Hiromi Paper International, Inc. lovely, but over-priced. Next door in Gallery 8, an artist at work greeted me with complimentary postcards of his oil-on-canvas pieces and even showed me some of his prints hidden away in the room’s thin, white drawers. In addition, his pottery selection was a treat!

I went across the hall to Ikon Ltd. Wow! I couldn’t believe my lucky stars when I saw a wide array of my favorite Campbell soup on canvas. Tucked inside were pieces by contemporary art icon Andy Warhol and other 60s notables. Of course these pieces were available for purchase, but I didn’t have a spare couple of thousand dollars handy to invest. Darn!

But not all the galleries captured my attention. One featured nothing but human anatomy. Another one showcased jewelry for the truly pretentious. I think it’s safe to say that there’s something for everyone there.

Next up, I dived into the Gallery of Functional Art. It had me immediately impressed with its unusual collection of coffee tables in addition to an unconventional red and green toilet!

Upstairs, I met Gallery Director Susan Schomburg. She shared with me key tips when visiting the galleries after their usual Tuesday to Saturday hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. She mentioned that artists sometimes host late-night special events, and guests are advised to arrive early for parking. Be warned, although these events offer ingenuity and thrill, they also run expensive at $35 per person.

An hour had passed and I was only halfway done with everything I needed to see. My brother decided that inside it seemed safe to leave me alone, and told me he would be back in an hour.

I trotted down to the Gallery Café and had a decent lunch for $10. I took a few minutes to look over my art goodies. I was glad to have a medium-sized purse, or else I would not have seen all that Bergamot has to offer with this stack full of postcards.

Then my brother arrived, and we went home. It was a day well spent, and the art was well appreciated.

For more info on Bergamot Station at 2525 Michigan Ave. in Santa Monica, contact (310) 586-6488;

If you like the sound of Bergamot, you could also check out the 18th Street Arts Complex at 1639 18th Street in Santa Monica. Contact (310) 453-3711 or This arts community has free changing exhibits of local and international contemporary artists. Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.