SFWA Past and Present

Founded in 1887, San Francisco Women Artists is an historic nonprofit arts organization that continues its mission to promote and support  emerging and established Bay Area women artists. SFWA remains committed to its legacy and core belief in the inspirational and transformational impact of art. By increasing the representation of women and by encouraging aspiring young artists, we believe that their art can enrich lives, deepen community ties, and vivify the shared human capacity for creativity. SFWA welcomes all genders to our organization.

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 in 2015 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" in 1887, 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 its many former members, including prominent artists Ruth Asawa, Dorr Bothwell, Imogen Cunningham, Eleanor Dickenson, Claire Falkenstein, Emmy Lou Packard, 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

More about SWFA