Saturday, May 15, 2021
The museum's closed, but 'The de Young Open' poises...

The museum’s closed, but ‘The de Young Open’ poises for launch

Local submissions welcomed for community art exhibition, which will display selections once the pandemic passes.


Starting June 1, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will welcome submissions from any artist over 18 years old from the nine Bay Area counties: Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

When the museum reopens, the selections for the exhibition The de Young Open will be hung. The art, which will include painting, sculpture, video, prints and photography, will be for sale and all the proceeds will go to the artists. 

This show was already planned to celebrate the de Young’s 125th anniversary, but it is coming sooner than scheduled—other exhibitions were cancelled when the museum closed due to the COVID pandemic. FAMSF director Thomas Campbell said now seemed like a good time for an exhibition showcasing local artists, who like many other groups, have been hit hard by pandemic. 

“The whole point is to celebrate art and creativity,” he said. “We though if we accelerate this, it’s something think about now that’s positive during this health crisis.”

This isn’t the first time the museum has had a community art exhibition. Campbell says the FAMSF recently hired an archivist, and they’ve learned there have been at least three of these shows – in 1915, 1949, and 1999, just before the old building was demolished. 

The theme for this show is “On the Edge,” and artists can take that different ways. 

“Here we are on the edge of America, and on the edge of Pacific Rim,” Campbell said. “There’s also the seismic instability, and we’re a city of cutting edge developments, and now with COVID, on the edge has a new resonance as we’re on the edge of something wholly unknown.”

Campbell adds that artists do not have to follow this theme, and artists are welcome to send in work they’ve created in the past two years. 

Artists can apply online from June 1 through June 14. The work will be selected by a jury including three of the museum’s curators: Timothy Anglin Burgard, Karin Breuer, and Claudia Schmuckl. Campbell says they are hoping for lots of different types of art, which will not be hung one work to a wall, 

“It’ll be in the Herbst galleries downstairs salon-style,” he said. “We want to pack in as many as we can, so it should be chaotic, creative, and fun.”

Campbell has been director at the museums for about a year and a half, and he says a show like one this fits into his goal of strengthening links between the community and the institution. 

“We started our free Saturday program, which has brought new audiences in and much more diverse audiences,” he said. “This is another way of engaging the community with the museum.” 

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