‘Historic’ SFWA


SFWA wishes to express our deepest gratitude to all those who are helping to ensure that our historic San Francisco Women Artists continues to remain a source of support and an anchor of stability for artists for many years to come.
What is meant when we refer to San Francisco Women Artists being “Historic”
Here are just a few highlights from our SFWA Timeline History:
  • 1885 – First exhibition by women artists in California; many participants are students at The Design School on Pine St. which later becomes the Art Institute
  • 1887 – Society of San Francisco Women Artists (also called The Sketch Club) formed by the artists, hosting semi-annual exhibits and monthly lectures
  • 1894 – 28 members exhibit their work in the 1894 Mid-Winter Fair in the California Pavilion
  • 1906 – Earthquake destroys headquarters
  • 1915 – Society of San Francisco Women Artists (SSFWA) merges with San Francisco Art Association – until 1925
  • 1926 – SSFWA holds its first solo Exhibition; Member meetings held at the Museum of Modern Art on Van Ness Avenue
  • 1932 – First Annual Museum Exhibition, at the Legion of Honor, the de Young, and later at the Museum of Modern Art. This continued for 37 years.
    • Frida Kahlo’s painting “Frieda and Diego Rivera” is shown in the “Annual Exhibition of the San Francisco Society of Women Artists” – Legion of Honor; it is the first public showing of Frida’s work.
  • 1939 – SSFWA participates in the 1939 Golden Gate International Exhibition
  • 1946 – SSFWA changes its name to San Francisco Women Artists (SFWA) and is incorporated – becoming a nonprofit arts organization
  • 1970’s – SF Women Artists Holds 3rd Annual Exhibition of Photographs at the De Young Museum. Juror: Wynn Bullock. SFWA artists include Imogen Cunningham
  • 1985 – SFWA Gallery opens on 370 Hayes Street, hosts monthly exhibitions, including sculptures by member Ruth Asawa
  • 1996 – SFWA purchases 3489 Sacramento Street property, continues monthly juried exhibitions; sale of Gallery in 2014
  • 2015 – SFWA relocates to current Inner Sunset location at 647 Irving Street where it has become an anchor in this vibrant and evolving arts community, hosting monthly juried exhibitions
  • 2016-19 – Awarded 3 Neighborhood Art Collaborative grants from the SF Grants for the Arts, partners with Inner Sunset organizations and installs art banners on lightpoles along the Irving Street corridor
  • 2022 – SFWA awarded grants from the California Arts Council and SF Grants for the Arts.
SF Women Artists, proud of our heritage and legacy, remains firmly committed to promoting equity in the arts for all people.  We invite you to visit SFWA online to enjoy current and past exhibitions featuring the artwork of our artists. LINK  And our new SFWA Online Shop LINK
To make a tax-deductible donation: DONATE
Or you may send a check to SFWA, 647 Irving Street, San Francisco CA, 94122
Thank you deeply for your support
Pam Borrelli, SFWA Board President
SFWA History Timeline LINK