Exhibitions Guidelines

General Exhibition Information

In support of the San Francisco Public Library's mission statement, service goals, and collection development guidelines, the Office of Exhibitions & Programming administers an active exhibition program at the San Francisco Main Library at Civic Center. Galleries include the 1,500 square foot Jewett Gallery on the Lower Level and the 2,200 square foot Skylight Gallery on the 6th Floor. Additional display spaces and Affinity Centers located throughout the Main Library can accommodate smaller exhibitions and/or wallcase displays. Four to five major exhibitions are mounted each year both in the Jewett Gallery and the Skylight Gallery. Multiple smaller exhibitions are mounted each year in each of the Affinity Centers and other Library spaces. The James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, the African American Center, the Filipino American Center, the International Center and the Chinese Center are located on the 3rd Floor. The Bernard Osher Foundation Art, Music and Recreation Center and the Steve Silver Beach Blanket Babylon Music Center are located on the 4th Floor. The Wallace Stegner Environmental Center is located on the 5th Floor. Branch Libraries, the San Francisco History Center and the Marjorie G. & Carl W. Stern Book Arts and Special Collections Center and the Fisher Children's Center schedule exhibits for their respective areas.

The Library has final authority over the review, selection and arrangement of all exhibitions at the San Francisco Public Library. The Library's Office of Exhibitions & Programming is responsible for ensuring that exhibitions in the spaces as outlined above conform to Library exhibition policies and guidelines. In addition to co-sponsoring exhibitions from outside organizations, the Office of Exhibitions & Programming works with other Library departments to install exhibitions drawn primarily from Library collections. Exhibitions are supplemented by public programs that include book discussions, films, gallery talks, lectures, workshops, and other related activities.

Galleries and display areas are open to the public during regular building hours. All exhibitions and programs are free to the public. For information on current and upcoming events and exhibitions, go to the Events and Exhibitions pages of the San Francisco Public Library website at www.sfpl.org.

The Exhibition Review Committee considers written proposals for exhibitions. For more information on the review process, refer to Exhibition Guidelines/Selection Criteria and the Exhibition Proposal Form.

Selection Criteria

The Library may sponsor exhibitions from organizations or individuals that are engaged in a wide range of educational, cultural or intellectual activities. Exhibition proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria: treatment of exhibition content and approach, quality of implementation, artistic quality, originality, suitability to Library exhibition spaces, budget considerations, relevance to broad based and diverse community interests, usefulness to a general audience, and historical or educational significance. Additionally, the Library welcomes proposals that relate to Library collections and resources, reflect the cultural diversity of San Francisco, attract a wider audience, or connect to other exhibitions or programs in the community presented at or about the same time. An effort is made to maintain a variety of exhibitions.

The Library retains the right to determine the suitability of any proposed exhibition to be included in the Library's exhibition program. Please be aware of the following considerations when submitting a proposal. Library exhibition spaces are not exclusively gallery spaces and are not a public forum. These areas are also passageways for employees and members of the public of all ages to reach certain Library services. Accordingly, the Library discourages proposals containing images that include significant elements of sexually explicit imagery, nudity or graphic depiction of violence. The Library reserves the right to reject any part of an exhibition or to change the manner of display. Library exhibition spaces may not be used for commercial or political purposes, for the solicitation of business, for profit or for fundraising. The Library cannot engage in the sale of any artwork displayed in an exhibition, or provide pricing information within the exhibition. The Library does not advocate or necessarily endorse the viewpoints of exhibitions or exhibitors. Preparation of materials for exhibition purposes is the responsibility of the exhibitor and must meet the standards of the San Francisco Public Library.

The Library accepts requests to mount an exhibition through written application. Submit a completed Exhibition Proposal Form to the Office of Exhibitions and Programming. The Exhibition Committee meets approximately once a year to review proposals for the Jewett and Skylight Galleries. Proposals for smaller exhibits should be submitted at least 3 months before the desired exhibit dates. Upon acceptance of a proposal a written and executed Exhibition Agreement between the San Francisco Public Library and the exhibitor must be signed.