Frequently Asked Questions about SF Open Studios


Who can participate in SF Open Studios?

If you are an artist living and/or practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area you are eligible to register for SF Open Studios (SFOS). SF Open Studios is a non-juried art event. Each artist must first be a current artist member of ArtSpan then register online individually, submit all materials by the appropriate deadline, and display and sell current original artwork, made by themselves on the days that they have registered to participate on.

When does SF Open Studios take place?

This year, SF Open Studios season will take place from September 16th through October 17th, 2021. 

Where does SF Open Studios take place?

In 2021, SF Open Studios will take place during both online and in person events maximizing engagement while ensuring the safety and comfort of artists and visitors. Our hybrid SFOS production offers built-in flexibility so that we can respond quickly to changing guidelines around social gatherings and disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Traditionally, 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.

How many artists participate?

Between 800 and 1,000 artists participate in SF Open Studios each year.


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."

What is the difference between Premier and Basic Registration?

Click here for the complete list of Premier and Basic registration benefits.


Schedule/Studio Location

What is the difference between a Group and an Individual participant? Which is better?

Groups include established studio buildings and/or artist collectives. The benefit of being part of a Group is that the Group name is included in your Guide listing (both in print and online), and online on your ArtSpan Artist Pages. Examples include 1890 Bryant Street Studios, Studio Nocturne SF, Arc Studios & Gallery, and many others. All artists in Groups must register individually to be included in the Guide.

An individual participant is any one artist enrolling in SF Open Studios independent of a Group affiliation. 

There is no difference in the registration fee for either type of site.

Can I participate in more than one SF Open Studios event?

Yes!  This year's built in flexibility allows you to participate in as many SFOS events as you like within the festival season dates (Sept 16 - Oct 17, 2021)


All registrations for SF Open Studios (SFOS) are processed online.  If you need help, please email [email protected].

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

We are happy to help you register over the phone. Just give us a call at (415) 861-9838 and leave a voicemail with your phone number for us to return your call or email [email protected] to make an appointment.

How do I log into my account to register?

If you have participated in SF Open Studios in the past, you already have an 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 account.

Can I submit my Guide artwork image later?

Yes.  If you are registering for SFOS at the Premier level, you must upload your Guide image by August 1, 2021 in order to have your image in the printed Guide.  If you are registering for SFOS at the Basic level, you have until October 17, 2021 to submit your image and have it included in the web/app digital Guide.    Here are some tips on picking and preparing a great guide image.



If an artist or venue hosts other artists, each artist must be a registered participant with ArtSpan. ArtSpan has no oversight of Group affiliations and are managed at the discretion of the artist and/or group. Every artist participating in SFOS must abide by the Principles of Community and Cultural Equity. There are no refunds on registration and membership fees. Each artist is responsible for managing their studio presence 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. Registered SFOS Artists are eligible for discounted Artist Pricing.

This year, Premier artist registrants are eligible to have the Guide direct-mailed to up to 10 addresses of their choosing.

For full pricing and information, click here.

Where is the Guide distributed?

This year, ArtSpan is directly mailing thousands of our guides to our many patrons composed of art collectors, dealers, curators, interior designers, and art professionals spread across the Greater Bay Area. ArtSpan will also distribute the Guide to key locations that support local art as businesses resume operations; these include coffee shops, hotels, museums and bookstores, as well as retail and tourist spots throughout the Greater Bay Area.

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, 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. Resources and promo tips can be found in the SFOS Artist Marketing Toolkit and as part of the Make Your Art Your Business Workshops.


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.


Pictured above: Mirang Wonne