Scope and Contents
Title: San Francisco Arts Festival Photographs and Records,
Date (inclusive): 1948-1985
Date (bulk): 1967-1985
Collection Identifier: SFP 30
San Francisco (Calif.). Art Commission.
1 carton, 2 boxes, 1 shoebox
(2.5 linear feet)
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
The San Francisco Arts Festival Photographs and Records consist of photographic prints, slides, negatives, and a small amount
of written and ephemeral records documenting the annual festival that was sponsored by the San Francisco Art Commission.
The collection is stored onsite.
Language of Materials: Collection materials are in
The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk
hours. Collections that are stored offsite should be requested 48 hours in advance.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.
[Identification of item], San Francisco Arts Festival Photographs and Records (SFP 30), San Francisco History Center, San
Francisco Public Library.
Donated by Debra Lehane in July 2001 for the San Francisco Art Commission.
Researchers are encouraged to see also the San Francisco Ephemera Collection under "Fairs and Festivals-- San Francisco Art
Festival" and the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection Folder "S.F. Districts -- Civic Center -- Art Show."
The San Francisco Arts Festival in California was the largest and oldest free outdoor public art event on the West Coast,
founded in 1938 by San Francisco artists and then sponsored by the San Francisco Art Commission from 1946-1986. The SF Arts
Festival exhibited local and contemporary Bay Area artists and craftsmen from San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda,
Contra Costa, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, and Solano counties. Exhibiting predominantly visual arts, the annual show promoted artistic
interest and advancement in its local and regional community by providing a venue for local and contemporary artists and craftsmen
to sell, display, and develop sponsorship in a time in history when “official” art was only accepted in museums.
Scope and Contents
The San Francisco Arts Festival Records consists of photographic prints, slides, negatives, and a small amount of written
and ephemeral records documenting the annual festival that was sponsored by the San Francisco Art Commission. The photographic
material depicts participating visual and performing artists, festival attendees, exhibition artwork, the outdoor festival
site at the Civic Center, and other subjects. The photographic prints document the festival for the years 1948, 1957, 1967-1979,
and 1981-1985; negatives are from 1972-1978; and the set of slides is from 1984.
Most of the material was received unidentified and undated; dates by year have been added where they could be deduced from
similar, dated material present in the collection. Subject matter and persons are also often unidentified; however, names
of persons, dates, subject matter, and photographer are sometimes given on the backs of the photographic prints. Notable people
depicted in the photographs include George Moscone, Kay Boyle, and Thad Brown attending the opening ceremonies during various
years. Some images were used in the festival program brochures. Records include includes reports, newspaper clippings, brochures,
a catalog, public relations materials, and press packets.
Photographic prints are 8" x 10," some of which correspond to negatives in Series 2. Negatives cover a wider range of subject
matter than the prints and include negatives that are not printed. Most of the photographs and negatives are by Phillip Chan,
with additional photos by Henry L. Cox (1957), Gerhard E. Gscheidle (1971), and C.S. Garrison and Michael Dixon (1972).
The collection is arranged in four series: Series 1: Photographs; Series 2: Slides; Series 3: Negatives; Series 4: Records.
Each series is arranged chronologically.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Art festivals -- California -- San Francisco -– Photographs
Art, Modern -- Exhibitions
San Francisco Arts Festival -- Photographs