In 1985, Ruth Offen left her San Francisco gallery job and moved to San Juan Island. Facing an abysmal job market, she turned to what she knew best – art. With a leap of faith and a limited inventory, she opened WaterWorks Gallery in Friday Harbor. Over the years, the gallery has grown and flourished due to Ruth’s exceptional eye for great work. In 2020, Ruth retired from gallery life and her business partner Jennifer Smith took over day to day operations before an exciting sale to new owner Nate Fihn in December 2023.   


Our mission at WaterWorks has always been the same: We showcase regional artists in a setting that allows their Pacific Northwest inspiration to remain center stage. We believe that to change the world you must tend to your own patch and we are honored to support the artists in our corner of the world. 

What’s in a Name

Waterworks can thank Monopoly, a game of chance, for its name. When Ruth first opened, the gallery was located next to a tavern called The Electric Company. To give the gallery an approachable identity, Ruth named it after one of the game’s other utility stops. In 1986 the gallery moved to its current location at the intersection of Argyle Street and Web Street. When new owner Nate Fihn and Ruth were in talks, they agreed on the importance of the name and the legacy, Nate enjoys the visuals the name evokes, a part of a larger system of channels providing a vital natural resource (art) to the town.

Gallery Services

  • All works are subject to a prior sale.
  • All items are guaranteed as described.
  • Dimensions are given in inches, height then width.
  • Orders shipped promptly upon receipt of payment in full.
  • Shipping charges vary and are dependent on size.
  • Artwork may be sent on approval, beginning one week after a show, and are allowed to be returned for any reason within a week of purchase for a full refund less shipping. Returned works should be securely packed and fully insured.

Packing and Shipping

We offer packing and shipping service in United States, Canada and Worldwide. Works are packed to the highest standards, shipped via Federal Express unless another courier is specified.

It is important to note that when shipping to locations outside of United States, original artwork is duty free.

Delivery & Installation

Delivery and installation is available for both residential and corporate installations. Hourly charges may incur.

Gift Registry

A gift giving idea similar to a bridal registry where individuals can contribute towards a selected piece – weddings, birthdays, any occasion.

This registry may be used to celebrate any occasion with the gift of artwork. We can even coordinate co-funding of a gift with any number of individuals and help with delivery. 


Visit the Gallery

See our collection first hand. We are just a short walk from the ferry and an excellent destination for your visit to San Juan Island.

Let's Stay Connected

Join our mailing list and stay up-to-date on new works, openings, and gallery news.