SFWA Past and Present

The San Francisco Women Artists (SFWA), one of the oldest nonprofit arts institutions in California, has played an active role in the San Francisco arts community since 1887. Now, over a century later, SFWA continues to promote the talents of established and emerging Bay Area women artists, provide exhibition opportunities and offer an inviting space for the community to experience art. Guided by the conviction that the creation and appreciation of art has a unique power to enrich lives, expand thinking, and bridge divides, SFWA perseveres in its commitment to increase the representation of women in the arts and nurture the potential of talented young artists.

SFWA hosts monthly juried exhibits and regional art competitions, provides affordable space rentals, partners with the Mayor’s Youth Education & Employment Program (MYEEP), and showcases youth art exhibits in the gallery’s Artist Salon. Having previously maintained galleries in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley and Presidio Heights, SFWA relocated 2 years ago to San Francisco’s vibrant Inner Sunset community, where we are becoming an anchor in its evolving arts community.

Engaging over 300 local women artists each year, SFWA features contemporary art, jewelry, ceramics, and sculpture.  We are committed to ensure the continuation of our living legacy to support women artists and to provide a welcoming place for the wider community to experience the vivifying and humanizing power of art created by women.

SFWA, founded as the "Sketch Club", began as an independent group of women artists who met to share and critique one another's work, and eventually evolved into the organization we know today. 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.

~ Despite some positive advances in gender equality in the arts, the reality today is as it has been historically—women artists remain seriously under-represented in museum collections and galleries worldwide. SFWA’s work is devoted to helping shift this paradigm.

San Francisco Women Artists is supported in part by SFWA member artists; gallery activities & programs;  individual donations; and by grants from the San Francisco Arts Commission: SF Grants for the Arts, Neighborhood Arts Collaborative and the Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund.

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.

In grateful memory of Virginia Dorn, 1916 - 2011, a generous guiding light and inspiration for all SFWA

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