ArtSpan believes in the power of art to enrich lives. For 20-plus years we’ve championed an inclusive art experience and provided diverse audiences with an authentic connection to local art and artists. We support emerging and established artists who contribute to San Francisco’s inimitable creative energy, while bolstering the next generation of artists and encouraging the public to engage in preserving and furthering our vibrant art community.
ArtSpan evolved from the SF Open Studios program that began in 1975 by a small group of enterprising artists who wanted to make their artwork accessible to the public. These artists decided to open their studios concurrently on one weekend to encourage collectors to visit artists' workspaces and see where art is made. Throughout the first 14 years, the event operated as a private enterprise and depended almost entirely on artist registration fees and volunteers. The event became so popular that it grew to encompass two weekends, then three, finally settling on the four-weekend model we still employ today. ArtSpan was created as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation in 1991 to secure the longevity and consistency of the SF Open Studios program, while creating additional programming for the community, youth, and families.