Doug Simay has been actively involved in San Diego’s art world for three decades.

He started presenting public art exhibitions in 1982 when, along with Mark Quint, he developed the arts space at San Diego’s 9th and G streets (a combination of Quint Gallery and Simayspace).

Simayspace was devoted to exhibiting the expanding personal art collection Simay started in 1978. In 1985 he opened Java Coffeehouse and Gallery (also at the southwest corner of 9th and G streets in downtown San Diego) that was devoted to exhibiting museum quality, critically important artists of this region. Java introduced European-style café society to San Diego. Java was considered a progenitor of the contemporary coffeehouse scene in San Diego. Over 45 artists had their introduction to the San Diego arts community through Java until its closure in 1994.

From 1994 to 1998 the Java space was converted to a 4,000 square foot formal contemporary art gallery, Simayspace, which regularly presented three simultaneous solo exhibitions, predominately showing Southern California contemporary artists, architects, and designers. In 1998, art operations were moved across the street to the northwest corner of 9th and G Streets in downtown San Diego. Along with partners, ACI (Arts College International) was started.

The name of that institution is now the Art Academy of San Diego and since 2008 has moved to North Park. The school teaches all manner of art making in an avocational setting. Doug Simay continued to present contemporary art exhibitions that focused on individual artists (dominantly from this region). That gallery space was called Simayspace and was located in the physical center of the Academy.

These exhibitions were met with significant critical response and appreciation.