About the Civic Art Collection
In accordance with the City Charter Section 5.103, the San Francisco Arts Commission is charged to “encourage artistic awareness, participation and expression …promote the employment of artists and those skilled in the crafts…and enlist the aid of all City and County governmental units in the task of ensuring the fullest expression of artistic potential by and among the residents of San Francisco.”
In that spirit, the intent of the Civic Art Collection, as overseen by the Commission’s Visual Arts Committee, is to promote a diverse and stimulating cultural environment in order to enrich the lives of the city’s residents, visitors and employees, and to enhance the city’s image both nationally and internationally. The San Francisco Arts Commission is committed to acquiring works of art for the Civic Art Collection that meet the highest aesthetic standards reflective of diverse social and cultural perspectives. Acquisition by the City and County of San Francisco implies a commitment to the preservation, protection and display of the artwork for the public benefit.
The Civic Art Collection currently contains over 3,500 objects and consists of monuments and statuary in the parks, murals in public buildings, paintings, sculptures, installations and other media purchased or commissioned through the Arts Commission’s Public Art Program, acquired during annual municipally-sponsored Arts Festivals, and gifted to the city by artists and citizens. The oldest monument in the collection is Lotta’s Fountain on Market Street, gifted to the city in 1875 by the actress Lotta Crabtree. The oldest work of art, the bronze Buddha in Golden Gate Park’s Hagiwara Tea Garden, dates to around 1790 and was placed in 1943.