SFWA Past and Present

A presence in the San Francisco arts community since 1887, 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. By increasing the representation of women in the arts and by outreach and encouragement of aspiring young artists, we remain true to our mission and legacy. 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 welcomes all genders to our organization who support our mission.

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. To maintain this commitment requires a sustained vision, personal sacrifice, and ongoing financial support. SFWA is one of a handful of community-based galleries remaining in the city of San Francisco, we welcome you to become part of the vibrant and caring SFWA community, as we expand and develop our outreach programs, mentor student interns, host exhibitions and events that help create a shared, cultural relationship between our artists and the public.

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 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.

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 Gallery activities & programs; artist members, individual donations and philanthropic support; 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