San Francisco is such a wonderful place for artists and there is so much opportunity out there for you !
SF Etsy members recently met up with Anne Trickey, Market Manager for the San Francisco Arts Commission and we wanted to share more with you about what we learned about the Arts Commission and its role for makers in the Bay Area. We asked Anne to guest blog for us and we are so glad we did!
What exactly is an Arts Commission?
Hi Etsy folks! Anne Trickey, here. I’m a government arts administrator who helps artists sell their arts and crafts in San Francisco. You may have heard of the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), but might not know how to leverage SFAC resources to support your work. There’s a number of ways local artists living and working in San Francisco can apply for opportunities through us.
We’re probably best known for our Public Art projects. San Francisco has both a 2% and 1% for art funding requirement for construction projects in the city. Any government funded project has to devote 2% of its budget for art. Ever wonder what that thing is on the side of the Public Utilities building? It’s actually a kinetic sculpture by artist Ned Kahn. Want to find out what in your neighborhood is part of the Civic Art Collection? Check out Our Collection where you can browse by artist or by San Francisco Supervisorial District.
This funding requirement is the same reason SFO has so much art. From internationally known “obsession” artist Yayoi Kusama, to local favorites Jay DeFao and Wayne Thiebaud, to first time installation artist Sanaz Mazinani, our local airport is host to a museum full of art funded through construction projects. The great part about the SFAC Public Art program is that they pride themselves on bringing in new artists who have never had a Public Art commission before.
Why should you care? Because that means YOU, YES YOU, could get one!
The best way to learn about Public Art opportunities is to sign up for the Arts Commission’s newsletter. The newsletter is how we send out all of our Public Art, Galleries, and Grant opportunities for artists. Additionally, you can also check the Calls for Artists page on our website. There is a lot of construction in San Francisco right now which mean a lot of opportunities for artists like you!
Our grant program is specifically geared towards Cultural Equity. That means the SFAC is tasked with supporting “historically marginalized” communities. There are individual artist grants that alternate between performance and visual art. Grants are specifically for artists living in San Francisco. Each year, grant guidelines are published at the end of Summer and applications close in Fall. To find out your eligibility, check out our Grants page and sign up for our newsletter for notifications.
If you want to check out our exhibitions, come on down to City Hall and the Veteran’s Building to explore our municipal Galleries. The Galleries program does shows on the ground floor of City Hall and in the recently renovated space on the first floor of the Veteran’s Building. Sometimes Galleries also has artist opportunities for residencies. Of course, the best way to find out is through our newsletter.
Finally, I want to talk about our licensing program, which is near and dear to my heart. I work directly with artists licensed through the Arts Commission. These are folks who make what they sell, and want to sell on the streets of San Francisco. If you are already selling on Etsy, good news! You probably already have a California Seller’s permit, and maybe even an SF Business Account Number (also known as a Business Tax number). You can apply for both online or in person, and you need both in order to get licensed by the Arts Commission. Once you have these, screening into the program is simple. Just fill out the form using the online payment system and I’ll schedule you for our monthly screening. The screening committee meets the first Tuesday of every month at 1pm. A panel of arts and crafts experts examine your wares to make sure you yourself hand make the items. (Commercial goods aren’t allowed in the program, but there is a permit for that through the Police Department.) Once you’ve screened in you’re good to go! Pay for a quarterly or yearly license and sell whenever you want at one of our many locations throughout the city.
If getting a license seems like a pain, we also have pop up market opportunities you can take advantage of, NO LICENSE NEEDED! All you have to do is email me and tell me you’re interested. The only caveat for selling on the street is that you must supply your own booth. Selling outdoors in SF means you need to be prepared for weather, particularly wind.
Thanks to Lisa from TickleAndSmash who has already put together a Pinterest board of booth ideas! I would also check this one out for outdoor booths. Two essential items for outdoor selling include weights to weigh down your display and spring clamps to attach things. Take a stroll through Embarcadero Plaza across from the Ferry Building and check out how artists in our program have used these tools.
Phew! If you made it this far, drop me a line with questions. I would love to hear from you and help you access resources from your San Francisco Arts Commission.
For More Information about the SF Arts Commission contact:
Anne Trickey, Market Manager San Francisco Arts Commission
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