Licensing

Obtaining a Street Artist Certificate

After submitting an application to the program, 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. Download our current membership list. Download our current craft list.

Application

Applications must be submitted with a $20 non-refundable fee (Ordinance 383-96). Applications must be submitted with a $20 non-refundable fee (Ordinance 383-96). Payment must be made by check or money order only; we do not accept cash, credit cards or debit cards. Checks and/or money orders may be made payable to “S. F. Arts Commission.” Applications are not processed until the fee is paid.

It is accepted by the San Francisco Art Commission that the statements you have made on your application are true. If there are any false statements on your application and they are discovered after your certificate is issued, your certificate may be suspended or revoked.

Applying as “family unit” partnerships

The Street Artist Ordinance (Police Code Section 2400) defines a “family unit” as “two or more persons jointly engaged in the creation or production of an art or craft item, no one of whom stands in an employer-employee relationship to any of the other members thereof, or, two or more physically or mentally handicapped persons participating in a formal rehabilitation program, a part of which includes activities for the creation of arts and crafts by said persons.”

If the art or craft is created by a partnership, each partner must submit an application for himself or herself, and list the other partner(s) in the “family unit” section. Each partner must pay the $20 application fee; thus, two applicants would pay fees totaling $40 (2 x $20); three would pay $60 (3 x $20) and so on. All partners (family unit members) will be screened together and must show the screening committee their significant contribution in the making of the item they are going to sell.

Screening

Applicants must have their work screened by the Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Craftsmen Examiners before they are licensed to sell. The screenings are held on the last Thursday of every month unless otherwise noted due to holidays. Please see the complete schedule here. Since the maximum number of applicants screened each month is 25, it is imperative that the application is returned quickly in order to be in the current month’s screening. Any applications received after the first 25 will be placed on the following month’s screening schedule. For the monthly agendas, please click here.

The artist may submit only two (2) kinds of arts or crafts per screening. The artist must bring twelve (12) completed samples of each craft and six (6) incomplete samples for all categories except jewelry and beaded items. Jewelry and beaded items require 24 completed items in each category (for example, 24 necklaces, 24 bracelets, 24 pair of earrings, etc.) and six (6) incomplete samples of each category of the jewelry items. At the screening, the examiners will observe the applicants creating or making their arts and craft wares in order to verify that the artworks are of the applicants’ own creation, and not commercially manufactured, nor made by someone else.

Read descriptions of the screening categories reviewed by the Advisory Committee.

Invoice Requirements

The screening committee will thoroughly review all current invoices for tools, supplies, and materials at all the arts and crafts screenings and re-screenings. Failure to produce good invoices, showing the name of the seller, name of the buyer, date of sale, description of items purchased, and the price for each item, may be grounds to recommend refusal, suspension, or revocation of certification. The Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Craftsmen Examiners recognizes that some materials used in producing art and craft works are found, traded for, or even homegrown, and will make exceptions accordingly. In order to maintain accurate records to document possible violations, some invoices and records may be photocopied during the screening and placed in the applicant’s file.
Arts and craft items that have not been screened and approved may not be sold.

Required Documents and Fees

A certificate (license) will be issued after the applicant has been approved by the advisory committee, has paid the fee, and has shown the following documents to Program staff:

  1. Business Tax Registration Certificate: This must be obtained in San Francisco at the Tax Collector’s office, City Hall, first floor, Room 140. The address is No. 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco (map). Phone (415) 554-4400. The fee is $76 per fiscal year (July 1-June 30). .
  2. Seller’s Permit: This may be obtained from the State Board of Equalization, 121 Spear Street, Suite 460, San Francisco (map). (415) 356-6600. There is no fee for this permit. Visit www.boe.ca.gov to register.
  3. One color photograph of the artist no larger than the size of a passport photo, and preferably the size of a driver’s license photo. This photo may be e-mailed to the Street Artists Program office at street.artists@sfgov.org.

Currently, the certificate (license) fee is $174 quarterly (this is for 3 months), or $696 for one year. Certificates will be issued after the screening approval ONLY IF ALL DOCUMENTS REQUIRED HAVE BEEN PRESENTED BY THE ARTIST.

Those artists who are not prepared for same-day licensing are allowed up to fifteen (15) working days after the initial screening to obtain their Street Artist Certificate to avoid a repeat of the screening process. The Street Artists Program office is open for licensing from Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m and 1:00 p.m - 4:00 p.m.