SFWA Past and Present
San Francisco Women Artists (SFWA), founded in 1887 as the "Sketch Club", began as an independent group of women artists who met to share and critique one another's work. SFWA is one of the oldest arts organizations in California and continues to support, promote, and exhibit the work of talented Bay Area artists.
SFWA is a nonprofit membership organization presenting monthly-juried exhibits, showcasing paintings, photography, sculpture, ceramics and jewelry. SFWA actively seeks to collaborate with other non-profits, while also inviting community participation by offering workshops, student internships, and special events and activities.
Having managed galleries in Hayes Valley and Presidio Heights, SFWA is now established in San Francisco’s vibrant Inner Sunset community. SFWA is proud of its heritage and of the many former members who have become prominent artists, including Ruth Asawa, Dorr Bothwell, Imogen Cunningham, Eleanor Dickenson, Claire Falkenstein, Jo Hansen, Emmy Lou Packard, Eleanore Rappe, Ruth Armer, Barbara Spring, Beth Van Hoesen, Dorothy Winslade, and Ruth Bernhard.
In 2014, the internationally acclaimed graphic design team, Studio Hinrichs, selected SF Women Artists to create a rebranding – pro bono. Our symbol represents multiple artists joined in alliance. Within the modern symbol, three triangles form a “W” and an “A” shape and can be expressed in three dimensions.
More about SWFA
- Download the detailed timeline history.
- Link to the Smithsonian Archive page about our organization.
- In grateful memory of VIRGINIA DORN 1916 - 2011
In memory of Virginia Dorn, a generous guiding light and inspiration for all SFWA.
Virginia wrote a 6 month Grant to start the very first upstairs gallery on Hayes Street, trained the volunteer staffers, and kept a monthly, hourly schedule,to keep the newer Hayes St. gallery a cheerful, educational gathering place, primarily for women Artists in San Francisco. All who worked with her, remember her fondly. This portrait is by SFWA artist Jess Zepeda.