Skip to main content
Arts & Entertainment

Want to get your art into the de Young? Here’s your chance

The first de Young Open in September 2020 drew nearly 12,000 submissions. | Gary Sexton/Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Many aspiring artists dream of having their artwork hung in a prominent museum. If you’re a Bay Area painter, sculptor or image-maker, now’s your chance to have your creativity displayed in one of San Francisco’s most esteemed art institutions. 

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have announced the return of The de Young Open. Billed as “the only exhibition of its kind at a major American Museum,” the triennial open-call exhibition invites artists from all over the Bay Area to submit pieces for consideration. 

Over 800 artworks were displayed at the first de Young Open in September 2020. | Gary Sexton/Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The works included in the exhibition will be selected by an anonymous jury of Bay Area artists and curators. Jurors review submissions exclusively from digital files without any identifying information about the artist. Inclusion in the exhibition is decided on merit alone—meaning you don’t have to be an established artist to be in the running for wall space.

“The de Young Open aspires to magnify the voices and visions of those who are rooted locally, but thinking globally, both about the world we live in and the world of art,” reads a press release from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “The Fine Arts Museums encourage artists from diverse backgrounds, from those just beginning their artistic careers to established professionals, from the self-taught to the academically trained, to apply.”

Artwork created by Bay Area artists takes center stage at The de Young Open, returning for the second time since its inauguration during the pandemic. | Gary Sexton/Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The inaugural de Young Open, which was born as a way to connect the de Young with locals during the pandemic and support the local arts community, drew nearly 12,000 submissions, and over 800 works were ultimately displayed in the de Young’s hallowed halls. Artists whose work is featured in the display this year will be able to sell their artwork at the exhibition and retain 100% of the proceeds.

“Launched at the height of the pandemic, The de Young Open 2020 was first and foremost a call to action in support of Bay Area artists,” said Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, in a release. “We wanted to bolster the creative community in the Bay Area and provide economic opportunities for artists through a very challenging time.” 

Alice Beasley's "Floating Into the Heat of the Moon" is one example of the hundreds of artworks that comprised the first de Young Open in 2020. | Courtesy of the artist

Timothy A. Burgard, a senior curator who oversees the American Art Department at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, said that The de Young Open is part of the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, access and inclusion and supporting local artists.

“We aspire to embrace and support our local art communities, in order to model the museum of the future,” Burgard said in a release—adding that while the de Young is known for collecting world-class art for its permanent collection, “the greatest work of art in The de Young Open is the exhibition itself, which is created by and for the people of the Bay Area.”

AI-generated artwork is eligible for entry at the 2023 de Young Open. | Gary Sexton / Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Visual artists 18 and older who live in one of the Bay Area’s nine counties (San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo) are eligible to apply. Digital artworks, including NFTs and AI-generated artworks, are also eligible for entry this year. Applications will be accepted from June 5 to June 18, but will close once 12,000 applications are received, whichever comes first. Guidelines for entry are available at, and entrants will be notified by mid-August.

Artworks chosen for this year’s de Young Open will be displayed from floor-to-ceiling, “salon-style,” in the museum’s Herbst Exhibition Galleries from Sept. 30, 2023, to Jan. 21, 2024. 

The de Young Open 2023

📍 de Young Museum
🗓 Application window: June 5-18
🗓 Exhibition dates: Sept. 30, 2023-Jan. 21, 2024 
🔗 Guidelines and submission info: