San Francisco’s “Return to SFAI” & Winter Art Festival


In a city like San Francisco, it’s not easy to surprise anyone with gorgeous vistas. But still, looking at the beautiful North Beach neighborhood and the Bay from the modernist observation deck of SF Art Institute is a unique experience. November 3 and 4 would be great days to come visit the place—apart from the views and the art, you will be able to enjoy great food and drinks, as well as nice bohemian company.

Photo courtesy of San Francisco Art Institute.

Saturday, November 3 is the “Return to SFAI” party, which celebrates the venerable school’s alumni (but non-alumni are also welcome). You will have a chance to meet some of the region’s most notable artists, including Karen Finley, who will present a special new piece. Finley is famous for her radical performance works, which in the early 1990s got conservatives raging about the National Endowment for the Arts. Her “case” sparked discussions about freedom of speech that got as far as the Supreme Court and Congress. Also in attendance will be famous Filipino-American artist Carlos Villa, as well as punk rockers Penelope Houston (The Avengers) and Debora Iyall (Romeo Void), who will perform their music live.

Drinks will be provided by well-known mixologists The Bon Vivants (of Rio Grande and Trick Dog). Food lovers won’t have to worry, either: the list of participating chefs includes Chris L’Hommedieu (Prospect), Dennis Lee (Namu Gaji), William Werner (Craftsman & Wolves), Chester Watson (Trick Dog), Lincoln Carson (Michael Mina), Evan and Sarah Rich (Rich Table), and Joshua Wilder Oakley (Tango & Stache). The tickets to the whole event cost $40 before October 22 and $55 after; you can buy them here or by phone (415.749.4512).

The next day, November 4, SFAI will host a free event called “Winter Art Festival,” where you can lay your hands on some work by the Institute’s alumni and current students. On sale will be paintings, sculptures, collages, drawings, videos, and other kinds of art. Among the participants will be Jeremy Fish, whose quirky pictures can be seen on many a San Franciscan’s t-shirts (he is one of the most popular artists of the FIFTY24SF/ Upper Playground stable). Other artists include Jeremiah Jenkins, David Johnson, Charles Linder, Amanaa Rendall, Jeffrey Augustine Songco, Cat U-Thasoonthorn, Ben Wood, and Amber Jean Young. All of the proceeds from the sale of the students’ pieces will go directly to them, and 20% of the revenue from the alumni work sales will support scholarships for students.

The Winter Art Festival wouldn’t be called a “festival” if it didn’t have other kinds of art-nerdy entertainment besides the sales. There will be music, performances, installations, and film screenings. And if you’re hungry, you can grab some food from the Hapa Ramen and Le Truc food trucks. The former offers noodles, and the latter burgers, tacos, sandwiches, and the like.

At both events you will be able to see SFAI’s current exhibitions: the brainy “Temporary Structures” at the Walter & McBean Galleries (featuring work by Paweł Althamer, Paul Kos, Michael Robinson, and others) and the student shows at the Diego Rivera Gallery.



San Francisco Art Institute

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