The Alliance for San Juan Art

  • Mission San Juan Capistrano
  • The Bells at Mission San Juan Capistrano
  • Serra Chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano

4|Mission San Juan Capistrano

Note that access to the Mission is fee-based and is technically not public art

The Mission is the raison d’etre for most visits to San Juan Capistrano.  In addition to the glorious views of the Old Stone Church in its ruined splendor, the entire Mission is a work of art from the majestic arched arcades to the ever-blooming gardens. The massive walls shut out the noise from the adjacent streets and allow a peaceful and quiet serenity within.

Soft lights and shadows, brilliant colors, and timeless beauty lured hundreds of Impressionist painters to the mission from 1890-1930. They came on horseback, cart train, Model T, and bicycle. They painted scenes of the old mission from virtually every angle. And they sold their paintings to tourists to sustain themselves. But it was not simply the allure of the mission itself which attracted so many artists.
(Taken from an essay by Jerry Miller – former Administrator of the Mission)

A visitor may at times view replicas of such early painted scenes of the old mission in the Soldiers Barracks and at the right time of the year see the swallows return to the Mission

Also while at the Mission, a visitor should see the “Golden Altar” in the Serra Chapel. “In 1924 the Mission was given an altar gilded with gold leaf. It had been built in Barcelona, Spain, and had been sent to Los Angeles for a cathedral. Instead, it was presented to Mission San Juan Capistrano for Father Serra’s chapel arriving in 396 pieces and requiring a year and a half to put together. The altar is over 300 years old”. Quoted fom Dos Cientos Anos En by Pamela Hallan-Gibson

Mission San Juan Capistrano is an eminently important cultural center in Southern California. The Alliance for San Juan Art (TASJA) hopes to encourage interest in reviving the art exhibitions that were acclaimed for their impressionist art in the 1990s.

To learn more, visit