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Fresh blooms of creativity: Discover three spring art events in San Francisco

Stephen Namara’s large oil painting “Slammer” is one of the works you might see at Hunters Point Shipyard Open Studios. | Courtesy Hunters Point Shipyard Artists

It’s finally spring, and art is in the air. From art that reminds us of rebirth to events that celebrate a sense of place, San Francisco is brimming with opportunities to appreciate art this April.  

Tenderloin Arts Festival 

🗓️ Through April 30
📍 Various Locations

CounterPulse and SAFEhouse Arts’ collaboration pairing local artists with unique locations in the Tenderloin aims to rejuvenate and celebrate the spirit of this storied neighborhood.

If you haven’t been to an event yet, stop by Boeddeker Park at Jones and Eddy streets on Thursday, April 13, for a luminous display of light art installations. Immersive Arts Alliance’s free Mobile Light Art Station will transform the park into a canvas for projections of Bay Area artists’ work at 8 p.m. Dancer-choreographer Hope Mohr will give a special performance.

The Tenderloin Arts Festival continues through the end of April with an array of events, including a free weaving workshop at CounterPulse, experimental outdoor performances in Boedekker Park, drumming circles and a neighborhood cleanup day. 

Art Market San Francisco 

🗓️ April 20-23 
📍 Fort Mason Festival Pavilion
🎟️ $35+

The Bay Area’s longest-running modern and contemporary art fair returns to Fort Mason featuring an variety of art installations, talks and performances. Highlights include an array of displays by 85 galleries from around the world—all with a focus on the Bay Area arts scene. 

Major San Francisco cultural institutions will present intriguing lectures on the state of art today. Digital art incubator Gray Area will discuss the impact of artificial intelligence on creators, the San Francisco Arts Commission will talk through highlights of the Central Subway public art collection, Dogpatch’s Museum of Craft and Design will discuss the challenges and triumphs of local artists trying to survive in the Bay Area arts ecosystem and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will take a look at the long career of the city’s very own Ansel Adams, who captured iconic images of Yosemite, SF and the Southwest. 

The Museum of Craft and Design’s mobile art studio will also post up outside the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, and the TNT Traysikel, an oral history project and Filipino-style motorcyle-sidecar with a karaoke machine, will also be on hand for a screening of a film based on the vehicle’s adventures through the Filipino community.

Sharon Beals photographs endangered and extinct birds' nests from scientific collections like this shell-filled nest of Caspian tern, collected in 1932 from Scammons Lagoon on Shell Island in Baja California, Mexico, and shot at the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in Camarillo, California. | Courtesy Hunters Point Shipyard Artists

Hunters Point Shipyard Open Studios 

🗓️ April 29-30 | 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 
📍 Hunters Point Shipyard

For some, the Hunters Point Shipyard Open Studios is an annual rite of spring. After a wet winter, the arts colony on the southeastern tip of San Francisco celebrates the arrival of warmer weather by throwing open its doors to the public and showcasing pieces blossoming with creativity.

Self-described “industrial ethereal artist” Marina Berlin displays her airy chicken wire sculptures and experimentations with AI image generator Midjourney. Howard Hersh’s studio showcases his sculptural wall art of basswood and birch that appears functional at first—like a stylish shelving unit—then veers into the abstract. These deceptive pieces of actually not-so-functional furniture and decorative art are inspired by the likes of Spinal Tap bass player Harry Shearer and American painter and photographer Chuck Close. 

You’ll also be able to gaze into the inner workings of artwork by Sharon Beals, a commercial photographer turned artist who photographs intricately woven bird’s nest of extinct and endangered species from the 1800s to the present day. Beals photographs the nests with high-res cameras from scientific collections, magnifying the delicate details underlying the nests’ construction and ultimately creating striking large-scale images of avian homesteads composed of everything from colorful seashells to golden twigs and foliage. The pieces remind of the sense of renewal that comes with springtime.

Correction: Sharon Beals photographs woven bird’s nests.