SFAI is a place of hidden histories, tucked into corners of the campus and literally carved into the walls.

The past and present of making, living, and breathing art are one here—a mix of concrete, epic views, labyrinthine hallways, people, and art.

Take a tour of SFAI's campus

800 Chestnut Street Campus

SFAI’s historic 800 Chestnut Street campus, located in Russian Hill, has:

  • Studios and classrooms with individual studios for honors students
  • Walter and McBean Galleries—a professional exhibition space featuring work by international contemporary artists
  • Diego Rivera Gallery—a student-run space that provides opportunities to curate and exhibit work
  • Prentice and Paul Sack Still Lights Galleries for photo-based work
  • Anne Bremer Memorial Library
  • State-of-the-art digital labs supporting sound, photography, film, video, design, web programming, and print
  • Rooftop amphitheater
  • Courtyard café

Prospective students are encouraged to schedule a visit.

The general public is also welcome to explore the campus: see the Diego Rivera Mural, visit our galleries, eat at the café, attend one of our many events, or rent a venue for special occasions.

Third Street Graduate Center

The Third Street Graduate Center, located in an industrial warehouse in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, provides:

  • More than 60,000 square feet of space to support the academic and studio needs of graduate students
  • 24/7 access to over 150 individual and group studios for graduate students and visiting artists
  • Classrooms, installation rooms, a computer lab, a library annex, film and video editing rooms, a black-and-white darkroom, a digital media lab, an equipment checkout facility
  • Communal lounge with kitchen
  • Wall space and installation rooms for the display of student work
  • Swell Gallery—a student-run experimental exhibition space that allow students to forge new collaborations

Coming Fall 2017
SFAI Graduate Center at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture

SFAI is transforming Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, located on the northern waterfront one mile from the 800 Chestnut Street campus, into a dynamic hub for graduate artist studios and public engagement.

Get a first look at the project

Diego Rivera Gallery

Chestnut Street Campus

The Diego Rivera Gallery, home to SFAI’s historic Diego Rivera Mural, is a student-directed exhibition space for work by SFAI students.

The gallery provides an opportunity for students from all academic programs to present their work or curate in a gallery setting; to use the space for large-scale installations; or to experiment with artistic concepts and concerns in a public venue.

Students submit applications for exhibitions in November and March annually, and a jury of alumni selects the artists who will exhibit. Students may apply to have an individual show, to participate in a group show, or to curate a show. About 40 shows per year are scheduled and close to 200 students exhibit each year.


Open daily for exhibition and mural viewing,
9 AM–7 PM.

Opening receptions are on Tuesdays, with an artist talk at 5:30 PM and a reception from 5–7 PM.

Swell Gallery

Third Street Graduate Center

The Swell Gallery is a graduate student-run art space dedicated to the examination of the role of the gallery in an educational sphere.

The mission of the Swell Gallery is to provide a venue for the exploration and discussion of varying artistic perspectives from the student body, operating as a platform for exhibition, events, and dialogue.

The Swell Gallery is open to the public and located on the second floor of SFAI’s Graduate Center at 2565 Third Street.


Monday through Friday, 9AM–5PM
Openings are scheduled biweekly on Thursday nights from 7–9PM.

Walter and McBean Galleries

Chestnut Street Campus

The Walter and McBean Galleries, established in 1969, present exhibitions at the forefront of contemporary art practice.

The gallery serves as a laboratory for innovative and adventurous projects and commissions new work from emerging and established artists. SFAI’s Public Programs develop meaningful interactions between artists, students, and audiences through lectures, education opportunities, and artist-driven experiences.

Together, the exhibitions and public programs of the San Francisco Art Institute promote an environment that catalyzes the creative processes of its student artists and thinkers, and creates intimate connections between the SFAI community and the public.

The SFAI Café

Chestnut Street Campus

The SFAI Café offers visitors and the campus community local, organic fare, and panoramic views of San Francisco Bay.

The menu features daily specials, and a selection of vegetarian and vegan options. Visitors, tourists, and the campus community are all welcome!

Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and other light fare, all food at the SFAI Cafè is made from ingredients that are organic, local, and seasonal. For breakfast and throughout the morning, we offer pastries, bagels, organic fresh-squeezed juice, bacon and eggs, and hot cereal. For lunch and throughout the afternoon, we offer soups, salads, sandwiches, entrées, and desserts. We also serve organic fair-trade coffee, espresso, and organic teas.


Hours (Spring / Fall Semesters)

Monday–Thursday: 8:30 am–8 pm

Friday: 8:30 am–3 pm



The SFAI Café is located next to the Zellerbach Quad, offering rooftop access and both indoor and outdoor seating. This light-filled space with large windows offers excellent views of the bay. Informal gatherings before visiting artist lectures are hosted here, as are many SFAI events and receptions.

Venue Rentals

Historic architecture and panoramic views of the bay—SFAI is a stunning backdrop for receptions, wedding celebrations, photography shoots, film screenings, and other special events.

SFAI is nestled in San Francisco’s historic Russian Hill, adjacent to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf. A striking combination of Mediterranean-style architecture and Corbusian concrete, SFAI’s 800 Chestnut Street campus is comprised of multiple tiers, and a variety of spaces and facilities.



Please submit venue rental inquiries here.  You may also contact facilityrentals@sfai.edu