Who can participate in SF Open Studios?

If you are an artist living and/or practicing in San Francisco you are eligible to register for SF Open Studios (SFOS). SF Open Studios is a non-juried art event. Each artist must register online individually, submit all materials by the appropriate deadline, and display and sell current original artwork, made by him/herself on the appropriate weekend.

How many artists participate?

Between 800 and 1000 artists participate in SF Open Studios each year.

When does SF Open Studios take place?

SF Open Studios takes place during October and November. The schedule of neighborhoods by weekend changes from year to year; we take into account many different variables including local events, rental availabilities, geographic and density factors, and artist feedback. An active committee of SF Open Studios artists, representing a range of neighborhoods, communities, and artistic practices, approves the schedule. Here is the 2016 schedule.

What is a “preview weekend”?

A “preview weekend” is when the public is invited to view a sampling of artwork from participating SFOS artists at the SF Open Studios Exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center. Open studios events are not held during this weekend and artists benefit from an extra week of publicity. The exhibition kicks off with an opening party called ArtLaunch.

Can I participate in more than one weekend?

Yes! You are welcome to register for two weekends if you have two locations to show your work in different neighborhoods on separate SF Open Studios weekends. You must register for both weekends at the same time. There are discounted rates for your second registration: $110 for Premier and $75 for Participating. If you opt to register for two Premier registrations, you will have two images of your artwork in the Guide and two artworks in the SF Open Studios Exhibition.

Where does SF Open Studios take place?

SF Open Studios takes place in neighborhoods throughout San Francisco. The event is city-wide and spans locations from North Beach to Ocean Beach. Some studios are part of multi-artist collectives or group sites, others are home studios nestled into neighborhoods. Some out-of-town artists even take up temporary exhibition space in the city in order to participate.

What if I’m not sure which weekend I’m in?

If your neighborhood is not listed, or if your studio falls on a border between neighborhoods, give us a call before you register and we can help determine which weekend you are in. We can be reached at (415) 861-9838 or info@artspan.org.

What is the difference between a group site and an individual site? Which is better?

A group site is any location where five (5) or more artists are participating at the same location. The benefit of being part of a group site, is that the group site name is included in your Guide listing and on the Guide map. Examples include Fort Mason, 1890 Bryant Street Studios, Hunters Point Shipyard, and many others. All artists at group sites must register individually to be included in the Guide. New group sites should contact ArtSpan to be added to the list so the group site name appears as an option in the registration form. An individual site is any site where an individual artist is opening their studio. Examples can include home studios, storefronts, offices, and even mobile art trucks!

Every studio is unique and there are benefits to both group sites and individual sites. Group sites give artists the benefit of centralized promotion and often experience higher foot traffic. Individual sites offer the public a more intimate and often more unique experience. ArtSpan highly recommends that artists in individual sites meet other participating artists in their area and get their neighbors involved. Contact ArtSpan at info@artspan.org to let us introduce you to your neighboring artists so you can network and promote each others SFOS events. There is no difference in the registration fee for either type of site.

How do I find a studio space? Can ArtSpan find me a studio?

Craigslist, message boards at artist group sites, ArtSpan's Facebook group, and word of mouth are common ways that artists find studio spaces in SF. Some locations, such as Fort Mason, rent space to artists specifically for the SFOS event. If you are looking for space to show your work during SF Open Studios or if you are looking for artists to show their work in your space, email info@artspan.org. Please note that while ArtSpan cannot guarantee placement for anyone during SF Open Studios, we endeavor to facilitate connections between artists and spaces in San Francisco.

Why should I participate in SF Open Studios?

Top 5 Reasons to do SFOS, straight from the artist’s mouth (SFOS Artist Survey Quotes):

  • Motivation - "It forces me to reorganize and clean my studio, create new work, and have a goal to work toward each year."
  • Marketing - "Exposure to soooo many art fans."
  • Community - "Talking to new and returning collectors who 'get' what I'm doing."
  • Sales - "Seeing first-time buyers light up with excitement from their purchase."
  • Feedback - "Regardless of sales, the audience reaction to my work and the conversation that my artwork sparked."


All registrations for SF Open Studios (SFOS) are processed online. To register for the Premier Artist Membership you must have your studio information, digital TIFF image of your artwork for the Guide, and payment ready. If you need help, give us a call at (415) 861-9838 or email info@artspan.org

What is the difference between Premier and Participating Registration?

Participating membership includes participation in the SFOS event, inclusion in online promotion, and a host of member benefits. Premier membership includes all of the benefits of the Participating Artist Membership and also includes an artist image, contact information, and location in the printed SF Open Studios Guide (distribution 20,000), as well as eligibility for a (20 inches x 20 inches) spot in the SF Open Studios Exhibition at SOMArts Cultural CenterClick here for the complete list of Premier and Participating Artist Membership benefits.

How do I log into my ArtSpan.org account to register?

If you have participated in SF Open Studios in the past, you already have an ArtSpan.org account. Log in to your account, make sure that you have a current Artist Membership, and then register. If you need to reset your password, click here.  If you are a new participant, click here to create your ArtSpan.org account.

What if I’m a “non-techie” and can’t register online?

We are happy to help you register over the phone or in person. Just give us a call at (415) 861-9838 or email info@artspan.org to make an appointment.

Can I submit my Guide artwork image later?

Yes, you can edit your Guide artwork image and your studio location after purchasing your registration up until the final deadline.

What is a TIFF? Why do I need one?

TIFF (or TIF) images are a special kind of digital file that offer the best resolution for print production (books, magazines, the SF Open Studios Guide). JPEG (or JPG) images are more common, and are used for online viewing (websites, computer presentations). We want you to look your best in the Guide, which is why TIFFs are required. Guide Image Specs: 300dpi, CMYK TIFF file, 2.5 inches/750 pixels on the longest side, smaller than 8 MB. Email info@artspan.org if you need help converting your image file from JPEG format. We are happy to help!

Do I need to know where my studio will be located when I register?

You can update your studio address (and studio name if applicable) after you purchase your registration, up until the final deadline. If your location unexpectedly changes after the final deadline, please let us know as soon as possible by contacting info@artspan.org or (415) 861-9838. If you do not have a studio, be sure to join the ArtSpan mailing list (scroll to the bottom of the page), Facebook page, and SF Artists Resources Facebook group to hear of any opportunities as they arise. Email info@artspan.org to let us know that you are looking for space to show your work and we will alert you to available space as we hear of it.

How do I register a group site?

When you register online, select the group site option, start typing the name of your group site, and then select your site from the drop down list. If your site does not appear on the list, enter your site information as an "individual studio" and contact us at info@artspan.org so that we can add your group site to our list.

Who should I contact if I need help?

If you have any questions feel free to contact us at (415) 861-9838 or info@artspan.org. We are here to help!

Is there financial aid?

Yes, if you are low-income or part of a federal assistance program you may qualify for discounted membership. Artists with a gross household income that is less than $25,000, assets that are less than $3,000, or participation in a federal assistance program may be eligible. Learn how to apply for financial aid (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Is there a student rate?

ArtSpan offers discounted SF Open Studios registration rates for full-time students. Artists who are currently enrolled in an accredited school to qualify. Learn how to apply for the studen rate (scroll to the bottom of the page).


If an artist or venue hosts other artists, each artist must be a registered participant with ArtSpan. There are no refunds on registration and membership fees. Each artist is responsible for managing their studio during SF Open Studios and that ArtSpan is not responsible in any way. ArtSpan reserves the right to photograph the artist, event space, and artwork for publicity, documentation, and fundraising purposes. Terms subject to change.



Should I buy an ad in the Guide? Is there an artist discount?

Advertising in the SF Open Studios Guide is one of the most effective ways to reach the thousands of people touring SFOS. Distributed around the Bay Area, the Guide functions as a year-round resource that serves art collectors, art dealers, restaurant owners, interior designers, and other enthusiasts who want to contact artists directly. Artist groups often purchase a single ad together in order to split the cost. Participating and Premier artists receive a 35% discount on all ad prices. Contact ArtSpan for the promo code once you've registered. For full pricing and information, click here.

Where is the Guide distributed?

The Guide is distributed at various locations throughout the Bay Area, including over 500 locations in San Francisco alone. Participating artists are a huge force behind Guide distribution and help drop them off at many locations such as coffee shops, galleries, local businesses and others. ArtSpan also works with a company to do big drops at studio sites, art stores, and other major locations.

What other promotion does ArtSpan do for SF Open Studios?

ArtSpan does extensive online promotion through social media (FacebookTwitter, and Instagram), our eNewsletter, listings on major event calendar sites, and through the online Guide. We also run ads in print outlets (such as The Chronicle, Asterisk Magazine, and SFAQ), advertising on kiosks, Muni buses, and billboards, send postcard mailings to 10,000 recipients, tabling at public events across San Francisco, and engage in cross-promotion with local arts partners. We work closely with a PR person to land featured articles about SF Open Studios and SF Open Studios artists in major publications, online and in print.

Do I need to do my own promotion?

Absolutely! The most successful open studios events often come to artists who do organized, consistent self-promotion. More resources and promo tips can be found in the SFOS Artist Marketing Toolkit and as part of the Make Your Art Your Business Workshops.

How should I promote on social media?

We highly recommend promoting your open studios event on social media. There are many things you can do to tag on to the promotion that ArtSpan sets up for SFOS. We recommend that you "Like" ArtSpan on Facebook and join the SF Artists Resources Facebook group. Join the official SF Open Studios event and invite your friends, neighbors, and collectors. Feel free to share posts by ArtSpan on your own page, and to use our SF Open Studios logo in your newsletters or on your postcard. Consider posts about your work in progress or new improvements to your studio to get people excited about coming. Follow ArtSpan on Twitter and use the hash tag #SFOS whenever you post or tweet about SF Open Studios.


Once I’m registered, what should I do to start getting prepared?

The SFOS Artist Marketing Toolkit is full of helpful information, including a timeline and a to-do list leading up to SF Open Studios. Things to start thinking about four to five months out include:

  • Photographing your artwork
  • Deciding what artwork you want to show
  • Registering for a resellers permit
  • Setting up a way to collect payment
  • Starting to design your postcard
  • Ordering finishing or framing materials
  • Ordering/making a banner or sandwich board sign to direct visitors to your studio.
  • Click here for even more helpful resources.

Do I need a business license or reseller’s permit?

If you are making sales at your SFOS you may need to get certain permits to comply with state and federal requirements. Check out these helpful links for more information: Seller's permit & Registering a business.

Do I need to charge sales tax at my open studios?

It is your responsibility to collect and report sales tax for any sales made in your studio. Visit the California Board of Equalization for full information.

How can I process sales in my studio?

There are many different options for processing sales easily in your studio. Some artists accept checks or work our payment plans with their buyers. Merchant services such as PayPal and Square offer easy ways to process credit card sales through a smartphone.

Where can I find more information and helpful resources?

The SFOS Artist Marketing Toolkit has a full list of resources. Click here for resources from our Make Your Art Your Business Workshop. California Lawyers for the Arts, Art Business, SF Art News, and San Francisco Artist Network also offer helpful resources for artists.

What is an SF Open Studios Hub and how can I get involved?

If you are a business interested in exhibiting artwork by SF Open Studios artists and distributing the SF Open Studios Guide, click here to learn how to participate. If you are a SF Open Studios artist who is interested in exhibiting at a SF Open Studios Hub, email info@artspan.org.

Pictured above: Mirang Wonne