5 of San Francisco's Best Art Nonprofits

Ava Mohtashemi

There are many great perks about living in San Francisco. This city is one of the best places to go for music, food, drinks and fashion. It also houses some of the coolest arts related nonprofits. Here are five nonprofits doing great things with the art world in the cultural city of San Francisco.

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Artists In Education Program at Southern Exposure

Southern Exposure

Art Gallery

Youth Arts Program at Root Division
Image Courtesy of silverliningbespoke.com
Southern Exposure is ‘an artist-centered non-profit organization committed to supporting visual artists’ that has been in the Bay Area since 1974. Southern Exposure provides artists the necessary tools and space available to continue creating innovative and diverse work. This nonprofit offers a program called Artists in Education, which pairs aspiring young artists with professional artists. Together, they produce unique, collaborative, and socially relevant works of art to be exhibited at Southern Exposure’s gallery. Some of their current exhibits include Analogue versus Digital, and Multiplicity: Why is There So Much of Everything?Southern Exposure is always looking for passionate volunteers. They are currently accepting open submissions for artists as well as a Missions Voices summer intern.

Root Divison


Performing Diaspora 2013: Nava Dance Theatre
Image Courtesy of Counter Pulse Flickr
At Root Division, there are four different programs which allow citizens to come together and create art. The Youth Education Program recruits artists, volunteers, and interns to teach free classes to youth. Root Division currently partners with organizations such as Larkin Street Youth Services to provide art classes as part of their youth education program. The Adult Education program offers unique and affordable classes to adults. Root Division also has a Second Saturday Exhibition series, showcasing innovative artwork. Finally, through the Studios Program, artists are able to interact, create new work and give back to the community. With this program artists can apply for subsidized studio space, under the condition that get involved with at least one of the other programs offered. They can also choose to help with arts administration of the organization. Root Division offers internships and is always recruiting volunteers. https://www.rootdivision.orgRoot Division,1059 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States,

Counter Pulse

Art Gallery

Artist Studio at Creativity Explored
Image Courtesy of Sara Faye London
Located in San Francisco’s SOMA, Counter Pulse acts as a performance area for subsidized rehearsal space, a gallery showcasing socially relevant pieces, and a community center bringing artists and people together. This nonprofit is home to the Affinity Project, which is comprised of a group of passionate women investigating the realm of theatre. Their piece Nocturne, based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, was performed at Fools Fury Factory Parts Festival in San Francisco. The Body Cartography Project ‘investigates empathy and the physicality of space’ through various mediums such as video installation and performance art. Their current performance piece, Symptom, explores the manifestation of reproductive biology. Though Counter Pulse is heavily focused on the performing arts, there are opportunities for other artists as well. Counter Pulse is always looking for volunteers, and offers internships for those looking to get experience in nonprofit administration. http://counterpulse.orgCounter Pulse, 1310 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States,

Creativity Explored

Art Gallery

Creativity Explored works to provide developmentally disabled artists a means to express their creativity, exhibit and sell their artwork, and become self-employed. Supporting the developmentally disabled community for 30 years, this nonprofit allows artists and aspiring artists a space to create, visit museums, learn from professional artists, collaborate, and become independent. Creativity Explored’s art gallery has been consistently voted the Bay Area’s best art gallery by SF Weekly and Bay Guardian. The gallery’s current exhibition, Super Contemporary, paired five Creativity Explored artists with five local artists to create corresponding works of art and can be seen until June 17th 2015. To support Creativity Explored, you can volunteer in the artist studio, with administrative support, with special events and exhibits, or in gallery sales. http://www.creativityexplored.orgCreativity Explored, 3245 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States,

Precita Eyes Muralists

Art Gallery

Precita Eyes Muralists is an inner city organization that sponsors and implements ongoing mural projects throughout the Bay Area. The organization aims to enrich urban environments and educate the public about the history of mural art. The nonprofit also confronts social issues through workshops and provoking mural paintings. Some thought provoking and educational murals include ‘Health Is…’ in Redwood City, ‘Seeds of Peace’ in Fairfax, and ‘Keep Our Ancient Roots Alive’ in San Francisco. Precita Eyes has also worked on international projects. Their mural ‘If You Cut One Tree; We Will Plant Ten More’ is displayed in Lebanon and Palestine. The mural features themes of solidarity, anti-war, freedom, and equality. In addition to creating beautiful murals, Precita Eyes offers mural tours and educational classes. Precita Eyes is always looking for passionate and talented volunteers to help with mural implementing and restoration, marketing and fundraising, special events and more. http://www.precitaeyes.orgPrecita Eyes Muralists, 2981 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, United States,
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