Since 1972, the San Francisco Arts Commission has licensed artists to sell their original work on the city's bustling streets. Today, artists join in an unparalleled City program that champions their efforts as business people and as artists. Enterprising street artists delight shoppers with the variety of their handcrafted wares—from amber earrings to wooden sculptures—in some of the city’s most-frequented areas: Fisherman’s Wharf, Justin Herman Plaza, Downtown and Union Square.
Participating artists must demonstrate to a screening committee appointed by the Mayor that they make the artwork they sell. In return, they receive certificates licensing them to sell their work in the spaces designated by the Board of Supervisors. Every morning, the artists hold a lottery at various locations to determine which space each artist will occupy that day.
The license fee is $191 quarterly and $764 annually.
Some items for which certificates are not issued
Food items, incense, perfumes, body oils, soaps, or other cosmetic products which come in contact with the human body or skin.
Other Permit Options
If you do not make what you sell, or if your product does not comply with program criteria, you may be able to be licensed through the Police Department's Permit Office. Contact the Police Department at the Hall of Justice, (415) 553-1115, to inquire about a Peddler Permit or other permit option.
Example Signs and Labels
Recent Program Studies: Revitalizing an Urban Arts Market
Helpful Resources to Boost Your Brand and Build Your Business!
SFMADE is a nonprofit focused on developing the local manufacturing sector and engaging the community with local manufacturers. They offer a “brand platform” to enable local manufacturers to better promote their wares and help consumers identify locally made products; certify that your products are made in San Francisco; provide opportunities to connect with customers through a directory and events.
The Mission Grafica program at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts offers workshops for printmaking and screen printing as well as studio equipment rentals, all at a low cost.