SFWA Past and Present

A presence in the San Francisco arts community for over a century, San Francisco Women Artists (SFWA), a nonprofit (501(c)(3) organization, remains committed to the transformative power of art on our culture, on our selves,


The mission of San Francisco Women Artists is to support, promote and expand the representation of women in the arts, mentor aspiring young artists, and host exhibitions and events that help create a shared, cultural relationship between our artists and the public. Through the unique powers of creativity to enrich lives, art connects us, providing inspiration, appreciation and hope.

Although our focus is on women artists, SFWA welcomes all Bay Area artists and those who value our mission.


Today, more than ever, we are in need of the unique power of art to recreate unifying bonds among all people by imagining, reflecting, and expanding the shared human experience. SFWA hosts monthly themed juried exhibits and regional art competitions, provides affordable space rentals, mentors student interns working with the Mayor’s Youth Education & Employment Program (MYEEP), features hand-crafted jewelry, ceramics, sculpture and glass art. We are committed to ensure the continuation of our living legacy as we support women artists and provide a welcoming gallery space in which the wider community may experience the vivifying and humanizing influence of art created by women.


We can measure the success of SFWA in-house and outreach programs by our increase in growth and diversity of our membership. Artists ranging in age from 18 to 96 are supported by SFWA providing them with a caring community and a beautiful venue where their art may be exhibited. Our success is seen in the positive results of our efforts in the development of new community partnerships and by our expanded visibility and presence in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Success is found in seeing our artists exhibiting their work, celebrating their first sales, seeing their artwork displayed on a major San Francisco street’s banners or featured on the Gallery postcards or media posts. Our artists have received over $109,000 in art sales commissions during the past 3 years, plus $10,000 in stipends from our GFTA Neighborhood Arts Collaborative projects. We are proud of the growth of our Student Intern Program and partnership with Mayor’s Youth Education & Employment Program.


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. 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. 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 remains committed to advocating for equity in the arts for all.

San Francisco Women Artists receives support from foundations, sponsors, individuals, and  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