Local Artist Paints the Perseverance of the Richmond District
In the Neighborhood: Watercolor Portraits of San Francisco’s Richmond District by Robin Galante San Francisco Main Library, 6th floor, Skylight Gallery October 8, 2022–January 5, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO, September 14 - Starting October 8, San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) presents In the Neighborhood: Watercolor Portraits of San Francisco’s Richmond District, a variety of paintings by local artist Robin Galante illustrating the bustling Richmond District, before and during the pandemic. On view in the 6th floor Skylight Gallery at San Francisco Main Library, Galante’s artworks spotlight the beautiful scenery of the Richmond as well as its sense of community and persistence.
“No matter how long I live here or how much I explore, there are still streets I’ve never seen. And those that are familiar continue to evolve and change, so there’s no end in terms of artistic inspiration,” says Galante.
When Galante first began the series in 2018, her hope was to preserve the character of her evolving neighborhood through art. Having witnessed rapid changes since she moved to San Francisco in 2003, she painted scenes to capture what she loved about the west side of the City: pastel-hued homes and classic movie theaters, towering cathedrals alongside quirky dive bars. Using watercolor pencils and ink as her medium, she imbues her work with a sense of affection and nostalgia.
As more people began to take notice of her art through word of mouth, her schedule soon filled with commissions. She began painting childhood homes and favorite neighborhood spots for current and former Richmond District residents who share her love of the neighborhood. In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in San Francisco. Galante’s mission to capture the uniqueness of the District felt more urgent than ever before, and she documented life during this uncertain time, painting what she observed as she wandered the streets close to home. What emerges is a collection of works that capture both the struggle and resilience of a city and community changed forever by one of history’s most challenging chapters. Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Weekly, the San Franciscan magazine and the Richmond Review.
Discussing her aspirations as an artist and the future of her work, Galante states, “I love documenting my neighborhood, and I look forward to doing more of that as well as venturing east of Arguello and capturing other parts of San Francisco. I’m especially drawn to places that are more ‘off the radar’... I’m not a huge planner. I never know where my art will take me, so I’m excited to see what’s next”.
In the Neighborhood: Watercolor Portraits of San Francisco’s Richmond District features more than 40 original watercolor paintings as well as reproductions of selected commissions, spanning 2018–2022.