Press Releases


San Francisco Art Institute Graduates Last Class and Ceases Degree Programs

SFAI Creating a Foundation to Preserve Legacy and Archives

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San Francisco Art Institute receives a $200K grant from the Mellon Foundation to support its monumental Diego Rivera fresco

San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) announces that the Mellon Foundation has awarded a $200,000 grant supporting the school’s monumental 1931 Diego Rivera fresco, The Making of a Fresco, Showing the Building of a City, one of San Francisco’s most enduring and beloved cultural assets.

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University of San Francisco and San Francisco Art Institute to explore integration of academic art programs, operations

The leadership of two renowned educational institutions, the University of San Francisco (USF) and the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), announced today they have signed a letter of intent to explore integrating operations and academic programs in the arts to elevate the next generation of artists.

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San Francisco Art Institute Announces New Leadership of Board of Trustees

San Francisco Art Institute announces the election of Lonnie Graham as Chair of its Board of Trustees.

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The San Francisco Art Institute Announces Launch of Access50 Scholarship Fund With the Support of a Major Leadership Gift

In honor of its 150th anniversary this year, The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) will launch a new scholarship program designed to provide a first-rate education in the fine arts annually to 50 students from underserved backgrounds.

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The San Francisco Art Institute celebrates its 150th anniversary with an exhibition and podcast series reflecting on the school’s extraordinary legacy

A Spirit of Disruption includes the work of more than thirty alumni and faculty from the 1960s to the present; a dynamic media installation drawn from SFAI’s vast archive; and a section dedicated to artist model Florence “Flo” Wysinger Allen, the subject of countless paintings, sculptures, and drawings made at the school from 1933-1997.

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The San Francisco Art Institute and Asian Art Museum present Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision

Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision is the first museum retrospective of iconic Filipino-American artist Carlos Villa and is presented as a joint exhibition at both the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. An alumnus and longtime SFAI faculty member, Villa (1936-2013) is a legend in artistic circles for his groundbreaking approaches and his influence on countless artists, but remains little known to many fans and scholars of modern and contemporary art.

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Alumnus and former faculty member Rigo 23 brings his large-scale statue of Leonard Peltier to SFAI’s rooftop terrace this fall to gaze across the bay to Alcatraz

Alumnus and former faculty member Rigo 23 brings his large-scale statue of Leonard Peltier to SFAI's rooftop terrace this fall to gaze across the bay to Alcatraz, a pivotal place for the American Indian Movement (AIM) and Indians of All Tribes. The 12-foot-high likeness of Peltier, a Native activist incarcerated since 1977, is based on a small hand painted self portrait that Peltier created in prison.

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San Francisco Art Institute Reinstates Degree Programs, Reaching Agreement with Tenured Faculty for Upcoming Academic Year

Reversing a previously announced suspension of all degree programs, the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) has resolved all contract disputes with its Faculty Union (FUSFAI) and has agreed to keep all tenured faculty on staff for the coming academic year. The faculty will be teaching a limited number of degree classes this academic year and assisting the college wherever appropriate.

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San Francisco Art Institute Marks 150th Anniversary with Video Art Projection in Times Square

San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), in association with ZAZ Corner, presents Tunnels of the Mind, a selection of 18 recent works by SFAI-affiliated artists, appearing on a Jumbotron in Times Square, New York City, starting at 7am on June 10th, 2020 and running through June 15, 2020 at midnight.

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San Francisco Art Institute plans multi-faceted, online commencement ceremony and year-end MFA/BFA exhibitions

San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) will honor its graduating students with a wide-reaching, online, year-end celebration that features virtual MFA/BFA exhibitions, a live-streamed Symposium, and online Commencement Ceremony, including the presentation of honorary doctorates to two accomplished alumni, Nao Bustamante (MFA, 2001) and Catherine Opie (BFA, 1985).

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SFAI Board Votes to Keep School Open with Limited Academic, Exhibition Offerings—Targets Major Partnership, Philanthropic Outreach to Ensure School’s Future

Contrary to previous reports in the media, The Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) confirmed today that the school will continue to graduate students this spring and over the summer, and next school year offer on-site and on-line studio art classes, public education programs, and grant-supported exhibitions and conservation projects, suspending degree programs while launching a campaign to reset and reinvent the school’s business model.

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SFAI Receives Prestigious Grant to Digitize Recordings Featuring Some of the Most Prominent Names in 20th Century Art History

San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) has been awarded a prestigious Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

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Of Here From There | De Aquí Desde Allá

An immersive installation by Ana Teresa Fernández that brings the unique mark-making processes of Creativity Explored artists to life.

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Rashaad Newsome: To Be Real

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and San Francisco Art Institute present West Coast debut of Rashaad Newsome’s To Be Real

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Flash Point

Artist Jefferson Pinder debuts new video works in response to the 100th anniversary of the Red Summer in a new exhibition presented by SFAI and Aggregate Space Gallery. This exhibition is on view December 6, 2019–March 28, 2020 in the Walter & McBean Galleries at SFAI—Chestnut Street Campus.

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Postcommodity: The Point of Final Collapse

Art collective Postcommodity focuses its indigenous lens on San Francisco’s sinking Millennium Tower in new sound installation at San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)

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SFAI Receives $94,000 Save America’s Treasures Grant to Restore Recently Discovered New Deal-Era Frescoes

San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) was awarded a $94,000 Save America’s Treasures grant to restore and conserve two major New Deal-era frescoes on the walls of SFAI's historic campus in the North Beach neighborhood. The frescoes, which had been whitewashed and forgotten for decades, were rediscovered in late 2013 by SFAI’s VP of Operations & Facilities, Heather Hickman Holland, who noticed ghostly, web-like traces along the walls of a corner hallway. Upon closer examination, she realized that these marks were in fact outlines of figures and buildings. Through careful research of SFAI’s archives, Holland identified at least six of these “lost” frescoes throughout the building, with the positive identification of one of them—a delicate painting by Frederick Olmsted, titled Marble Workers (1935).

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Mike Henderson: Honest to Goodness

Mike Henderson: Honest to Goodness celebrates the work of pioneering SFAI alumni and Bay Area artist Mike Henderson (b.1944), bringing together a selection of key works from a dynamic practice that spans more than fifty years.

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More Than 700 Years: SFAI Faculty Exhibition

More Than 700 Years, the title of the 2019 SFAI Faculty Exhibition, springs from the summation of time invested by each participating faculty member: an amalgam of years of activity both in the studio and in the classroom. In this way, the showcase is an intersection of artistic labor, education, and dedication.

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In A Flash: SFAI Alumni Exhibition Features Tattoo-Inspired Work By Alumni Including Don Ed Hardy

In a Flash is an exhibition of works by San Francisco Art Institute alumni whose practices encompass the art or history of tattooing and tattoo aesthetics. Featuring alumni from across four decades, this exhibition aims to showcase the range of imagery that comes from the realm of tattoo art and its variety of applications.  

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SFAI Announces New Degree Programs in Art, Place + Public Studies

This Fall, San Francisco Art Institute will become the first school in the Bay Area to introduce a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Art, Place, + Public Studies (APPS). Situated in San Francisco, at the heart of a city facing difficult and important questions inspired by rapid gentrification and changes in the distribution of wealth, SFAI’s Art, Place + Public Studies programs will ask students to consider the current and historical role of contemporary art in public life.

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Former Dean of Academic Affairs at SFAI Okwui Enwezor dead at 55—SFAI remembers his legacy

Okwui Enwezor, Dean of Academic Affairs at San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) from 2005-2009 and globally influential curator and scholar, has died at age 55 following a battle with cancer.

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Maya Stovall: Under New Ownership

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC) and San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) jointly present Maya Stovall: Under New Ownership, an exhibition of the artist’s innovative performance-based interventions in public life.

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From the Tower: Andy Warhol

San Francisco Art Institute unveils its archive of Andy Warhol screenprints for the first time, along with a selection of the artist’s Polaroids and photographs.

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Vanguard Revisited: Poetic Politics & Black Futures

An exhibition revisiting the 1968 photographic essay Black Panthers by Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch including never-before-seen work and a selection of contemporary works by four African-American artists and art collectives that connect the past and present of the Black political imagination.

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Patti Smith: Wing

An exhibition of photographs by Patti Smith on view for one week only at San Francisco Art Institute in collaboration with kurimanzutto.

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Pam Rorke Levy to serve as Chair of the Board of Trustees of San Francisco Art Institute

The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) announces the appointment of Pam Rorke Levy as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Levy, who has been a member of the Board since 2013, assumed her new role in July 2018, ahead of the September start of the current academic year.

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Will Brown: Ether

Local arts collective invests entire exhibition budget into digital cryptocurrency in a creative action to support art education and the public is invited to monitor its value in a new exhibition at SFAI. 

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XL Catlin Art Prize Exhibition

Prestigious student art exhibition begins its national tour at San Francisco Art Institute and features the work of two of its students

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Martin Machado: Fluid State

An exhibition of drawings, paintings, and photographs that offer a window into this often-overlooked system of global commerce.

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Philippe Rahm: The Anthropocene Style

A newly commissioned exhibition by award-winning Swiss architect Philippe Rahm...

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Bill Fontana: Landscape Sculpture with Foghorns

An exhibition by Bay Area sound artist Bill Fontana...

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Exhibition Schedule 2018

San Francisco Art Institute introduces its 2018 exhibitions, taking place at both its new Fort Mason campus and its historic campus on Chestnut Street.

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Fort Mason—Opening Spectacle

An inaugural party celebrating the public opening of SFAI’s new Fort Mason campus with exhibitions, open studios, a student art sale, and more.

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Fort Mason Campus

SFAI introduces the public to its stunning second campus at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture: the 67,000 square foot renovated pier is the new home to over 160 art studios for students, faculty, and visiting artists.

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3rd Street Studios Program

SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE LAUNCHES PROFESSIONAL STUDIO RESIDENCY PROGRAM One of the country’s last remaining schools dedicated entirely to the fine arts takes a stand for artists in San Francisco, offering 25 subsidized studios to practicing artists in the newly minted Dogpatch arts hub .

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Jill Magid: The Proposal

U.S. PREMIERE ON VIEW AT SFAI’s WALTER AND McBEAN GALLERIES A two-carat diamond engagement ring grown from the cremated remains of architect Luis Barragán's body brings artist Jill Magid's extended, multimedia project The Barragán Archives to a climax. On view September 9-December 10, 2016.

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Mariana Castillo Deball: Feathered Changes, Serpent Disappearances

SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE AND KADIST ART FOUNDATION INAUGURATE joint fellowship program with exhibition by artist-in-residence Mariana Castillo Deball. On view April 14–July 30, 2016.

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David Ireland

SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE PRESENTS An Exhibition by SFAI Alumnus and Celebrated San Francisco Conceptual Artist David Ireland Includes recreations of famed work from Ireland’s 1987 show at SFAI, coincides with the re-opening of the David Ireland House at 500 Capp Street in the Mission District. On view January 14–March 26, 2016.

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SFAI and SFMOMA Present Doug Hall: The Terrible Uncertainty of the Thing Described

SFAI and SFMOMA are pleased to jointly present Doug Hall’s seminal largescale installation The Terrible Uncertainty of the Thing Described (1987), which conjoins industrial imagery with documentary scenes of nature in turmoil. Its three channels of video, displayed on six monitors and a projection, are accompanied by the sculptural presence of a functioning Tesla coil, two large steel chairs, and a tilted, commanding steel-mesh barricade. Bringing together the immediacy of sculpture with powerful moving images, and startling jolts extending from the coil, the installation is a potent reminder that we are subject to the forces of nature and the influence of media.

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