Joan Brown, Tempus Fugit, 1970; collection of Noel Neri, Estate of Joan Brown;
© Estate of Joan Brown; photo: Wilfred J. Jones; courtesy Estate of Joan Brown
Special Event

Pet Portraits Day

Related Exhibition Joan Brown

Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Helen and Charles Schwab Hall, Floor 2, and Gina and Stuart Peterson White Box, Floor 4

Museum admission is required to go beyond Floors 1 and 2.

In celebration of our Joan Brown retrospective, SFMOMA is partnering with the San Francisco SPCA to bring you Pet Portraits Day, an exciting live art extravaganza. Joan Brown was known for her enduring love of animals, and you can find many depictions of cats and dogs (many of them her own pets) throughout the exhibition on Floor 7. With this inspiration in mind, meet us at the museum on February 4 and share a digital photo of your pet with us for the chance to receive a complimentary, original pet portrait made by a local artist.

No pet? No problem. Everyone can enjoy watching the art-making experience unfold. Some fifty Bay Area artists — plus participating kids ages 4 and up, working with SFMOMA Family Programs — will be setting up shop at their workstations on Floors 2 and 4 to create their portraits in a variety of mediums, from acrylic, watercolor, and gouache to pen-and-ink, collage, and clay. As they complete their works throughout the day, a selection of finished portraits will be displayed in the Gina and Stuart Peterson White Box on Floor 4, staying on view through February 6. (And if your pet photo is selected for a portrait, you’ll receive your artwork in the mail in the weeks following the event!)

As part of our partnership, we’ve commissioned artist Nora Aoyagi to be in residency with the San Francisco SPCA and create sample pet portraits in advance of our event. During this time, Aoyagi made watercolor portraits of four long-stay animals. All the animals featured in these works have since been adopted (great news!), but the SF SPCA has many more who are looking for loving homes. To see their available animals, please visit www.sfspca.org/adopt.

While you’re onsite, you can grab a free print of one of Aoyagi’s works from The Mobile Art Share bicycle. And don’t forget to say “hi” to the SF SPCA’s Animal Assisted Therapy Team making a special Pet Portraits Day Appearance.

Sample Pet Portraits for the San Francisco SPCA

Nora Aoyagi, Cowboy, 2023; commissioned by SFMOMA for Pet Portraits Day in partnership with the San Francisco SPCA; image: courtesy the artist
Nora Aoyagi, Zee, 2023; commissioned by SFMOMA for Pet Portraits Day in partnership with the San Francisco SPCA; image: courtesy the artist
Nora Aoyagi, Zelena, 2023; commissioned by SFMOMA for Pet Portraits Day in partnership with the San Francisco SPCA; image: courtesy the artist
Nora Aoyagi, Zucker, 2023; commissioned by SFMOMA for Pet Portraits Day in partnership with the San Francisco SPCA; image: courtesy the artist

How to Participate and Other Frequently Asked Questions

How to Participate

On February 4, check in with staff at the Third Street entrance to submit your pet photo for the chance to receive a portrait. We will accept submissions between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., but there is no guarantee that your image will be selected. Digital images are preferred, so please make sure to have an image file ready on your smartphone or tablet. You may also bring a printed image that we will digitize for you.

Please do not bring your pet with you to the museum (with the exception of service animals on a leash and under their owner’s control, as authorized by applicable law).

Any questions? Email us at publicengagement@sfmoma.org. Does your child (ages 4–11) want to participate as an artist? Email edu@sfmoma.org.

Do I need to pay to get into this event?

Pet Portraits Day takes place in both free-to-see and ticketed spaces in the museum. There is no ticket necessary to submit your pet’s photo and view the artists working in Schwab Hall and Koret Education Center on Floor 2. Museum admission is necessary to enter the White Box on Floor 4 to view those artists and mingle with the SF SPCA animals.

Am I guaranteed a portrait of my pet?

No. The artists will choose which pet photos they want to use for inspiration, and they can produce only a limited number of portraits in this one-day event.

What information do I need to enter for a Pet Portrait?

You will need to give the museum your name, your pet’s name, an email address, and a mailing address for us to send the pet portrait to, as well as a photo of your pet.

When will I find out if my pet was picked for a portrait?

The museum will let you know by Tuesday, February 7 if your pet was selected.

Can I pick which artist creates my portrait?

No. The artists will select which pet photos they want to turn into portraits.

What happens to the portraits after?

The portraits will be on display in the White Box on Floor 4 through Monday, February 6. After that, they will be sent via USPS to the addresses provided in visitors’ entry forms.

A small selection of portraits will be chosen by SFMOMA staff to be displayed at Steps Coffee. If selected, pet owners will be notified via email to ask for permission.

Can I participate in Pet Portrait Day as an artist?

No, unfortunately all spots for artists were pre-selected by SFMOMA staff and community partners and we will not be accepting walk-ups.

Participating Artists


Aaron Gonzalez


Alan Miknis

Alexander Rohrig

Angela Summers

Anna Lisa Escobedo

Axel Craig

Bb tree

Christopher Martin

Cliff Hengst

Dawline Oni-Oselah

Deatra Colbert

Eddy Atoms

Elaine Chu

Elizabeth Blancas

Elizabeth McConaughy-Oliver

Fuzz E. Grant

gentle thrills

Gina M. Contreras

Harumo Sato

Ian Mackay

James Gouldthorpe

Jason Villegas

Jessalyn Aaland

Joseph Sierra

Josué Rojas

Justin Marshall

Karen Thomas

Kate Rhoades

Kristi Holohan

Kristina Micotti

Marina Perez-Wong

Martin Malvar

Mary Anne Kluth

Matt Goldberg

Michael McConnell

Minnie Phan

The Mobile Art Share

Ocean Escalanti

Oliver Hawk Holden

Rafael Arana

Reniel Del Rosario

Saul Alegria

Scott Hewicker

Stevie Sokolouski

Sue Laurita

Tan Sirinumas

Tara Tucker

Ujjayini Sikha

Victoria Miller

Vivian Tong

Yukari Sakura