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Downtown San Francisco Is in Full Bloom with the Yerba Buena Art & Makers Market

A woman at a market stall is interacting with a young boy, while people browse and chat in a grassy area with trees.
Source: Vita Hewitt

While Downtown San Francisco is on the road to recovery, city leaders and community organizations are making a bold investment in local arts with the Yerba Buena Art & Makers Market. 

The Yerba Buena Art & Makers Market, a multicultural showcase of local artists and performers, debuted at Yerba Buena Gardens on Sunday, April 2. The monthly outdoor event will run until the end of the year and is part of the City of San Francisco's Roadmap to Downtown San Francisco's Future. 

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The makers market is free and open to the public and will be held on the first Sunday of each month from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Yerba Buena Gardens esplanade. Each event will include a variety of musical performances as well as original art, crafts and artisanal items made by local artists and makers.

The Yerba Buena Community Benefit District is producing the event series with funding through a grant from the city’s Office of Economic & Workforce Development (OEWD). 

A man in a plaid coat speaks into a mic at an event, raising one hand, with four observers in the background.
Ralph Remington, director of cultural affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission, introduces the event, along with Kate Sofis, executive director of the Office of Economic & Workforce Development; District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey; and Yerba Buena Community Benefit District Director Scott Rowitz on April 2, 2023. | Vita Hewitt

“Yerba Buena exemplifies so many of San Francisco’s strengths with its diversity, vibrant arts and culture scene, and beauty,” said OEWD Executive Director Kate Sofis. “This market is bringing together all of those things in one place and will remind people of everything Downtown has to offer, including as an exciting place to spend a Sunday afternoon."

With a renewed focus on cultural enrichment, the art and makers market transforms Yerba Buena Gardens into a thriving hub of creativity, innovation, entertainment and community engagement. Performers and artists are curated in collaboration with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy, and with input from neighborhood community groups and neighboring museums. 

The debut market included live music by award-winning singer-songwriter Curt Yagi and Afro-Latin funk band Sang Matiz.

A man is singing and playing an acoustic guitar, with another playing an electric guitar, both performing outdoors.
Award-winning singer-songwriter Curt Yagi entertains the crowd at the Yerba Buena Arts and Makers Market on April 2, 2023. | Vita Hewitt

“Spending the day in the city’s primary arts district is a great way to support the artistic community and to rediscover the neighborhood’s vaunted cultural roots,” said Yerba Buena Community Benefit District Executive Director Scott Rowitz. “Yerba Buena has the highest concentration of museums, galleries and performance venues in San Francisco, along with great places for dining, imbibing and entertainment.”

Three women at an outdoor craft market. One vendor explains products to two browsing customers.
Good Fortune Market offers designs of symbols meant to encourage good luck at the Yerba Buena Art and Makers Market on April 2, 2023. | Vita Hewitt

The Yerba Buena neighborhood is home to renowned arts and cultural institutions, like the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora, SFMOMA and the Children’s Creativity Museum, as well as Moscone Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial & Waterfall, dozens of galleries, restaurants and shopping. 

“As we work towards a full economic recovery, we must also remember to invest in the arts and culture that make San Francisco a world-class city. This market is an excellent example of how we can support local artists and entrepreneurs while also enriching our city's vibrant cultural scene,” said District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey, whose district includes Yerba Buena. “By showcasing the unique talents and perspectives of our diverse community, we can not only boost our economy but also inspire and connect our residents in meaningful ways."

Two girls and a dog in a park with musicians playing in the background. One girl kneels by the dog, another stands smiling.
Two girls goof around with a fellow festival attendee's dog at the Yerba Buena Art and Makers Market on April 2, 2023. | Vita Hewitt

As the city looks toward a post-pandemic future, the arts are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping its resurgence, and Yerba Buena Gardens is at the forefront of this exciting new era.

At future Yerba Buena Art & Makers Markets, some of the performers will include Theatre Flamenco, Jaleh, Roem Baur, LoCura, Amy Obenski, and Grrrl Brigade, with more to be announced. In May, the market will be Asian American and Pacific Islander-themed. 

Subsequent Yerba Buena Art & Makers Markets will be held on the following dates in 2023:

  • May 7
  • June 4
  • July 2
  • Aug. 6
  • Sept. 3
  • Oct. 1
  • Nov. 5
  • A special weeklong holiday market in December with the dates to be announced.

To learn more about the Yerba Buena Art & Makers Market, visit their website.