When modern was sf, San Francisco was known for a variety of cultural activities. For example, the city was a center of music and film production. It was also a place where many innovative new ideas were born and developed. Some of these innovations were derived from the arts, while others were related to technology.
The arts were a strong draw for tourists visiting San Francisco, and they were an important part of the local economy. In addition to art museums, there were music clubs, theatres, and other performing arts organizations. The city also hosted a number of festivals and events, including a popular music festival, the SF SummerFest, which has been in operation since 1969.
For many people, the arts were their favorite pastimes, and they enjoyed a wide range of artistic disciplines. These included painting, sculpture, photography, and film.
During the early 1930s there were not many museums dedicated to contemporary art in the United States, and most of them were located on the East Coast. Museums were an important source of information and education about contemporary art, and they often served as a hub for collectors interested in the work of emerging artists.
In 1933, Grace McCann Morley was hired to direct the San Francisco Museum of Art. Her qualifications were impressive: she had a PhD in French literature and an extensive art background, including experience at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Cincinnati Art Museum. She had also spent time in Paris, where she toured the galleries of renowned French artists such as Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh.
As director of the museum, Morley initiated a series of exhibitions that explored the broad spectrum of modern art and sought to attract the largest possible audience. She encouraged museumgoers to view the works in the galleries as an opportunity for personal reflection and enjoyment.
These exhibitions were a success, and they helped to establish the museum as one of the leading centers of modern art in the country. They were accompanied by a wide range of educational programs, which Morley launched in 1935 and continued to develop throughout her twenty-four-year tenure.
Her goal was to build a “people’s museum,” a place where anyone could come and learn about the art world. She wanted to appeal to everyone, regardless of their age or level of interest in the arts, and she did this by offering a rich array of activities, including lectures, classes, and special exhibitions.
The SFMOMA’s collection includes over 36,000 works of art in painting and sculpture, architecture and design, and media arts. This ever-expanding collection is the basis for original exhibitions and special traveling shows that explore the full range of modern and contemporary art and reflect the changing nature of artistic activity in San Francisco, the United States, and around the world.
In the past decade, the museum has reimagined its mission to become an engaging, active gateway into the San Francisco neighborhood and a vibrant art center for the entire city. Snohetta’s expansion to the west and south of the existing Mario Botta-designed building has transformed the museum into a lively, interactive art space that provides an urban contact to the surrounding streets while serving as an important public place in the city.