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SFMOMA Launches New Adult Education Program

Museum Also Offers Expanded Resources for School Groups and Teachers

Released: August 18, 2016 · Last updated: January 06, 2017 · Download (235.0 KB PDF)

Photo by Jorell Legaspi

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 18, 2016)—The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announces a new series of talks, conversations and workshops designed for Bay Area adult audiences, furthering the museum’s commitment to lifelong learning. Offered in the fall and spring, SFMOMA 101 and the Studio Workshops explore surprising connections between modern and contemporary art and design and the wider world. Local thinkers and makers—from artists and curators to poets, scientists and programmers—encourage participants to develop new ways of looking at, thinking about and creating art. SFMOMA’s dedication to inspiring and educating visitors at every age has been central to the museum’s mission since its founding in 1935.

“We hope to deepen our commitment to cultivating conversations about culture in the Bay Area through a variety of new and expanded educational offerings for learners of all ages,” said Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Practice at SFMOMA. “By collaborating with living artists, increasing access to back-of-house resources and connecting the collection with the world around us, these programs offer a unique experience that only SFMOMA can provide.”

Tickets for SFMOMA 101 and Studio Workshops are available for purchase online now at sfmoma.org/classes.

SFMOMA 101

SFMOMA 101 is an introductory series of talks and conversations held in the museum’s recently renovated Phyllis Wattis Theater. Each course explores a different theme over the course of five weekly sessions. Featured speakers include artists, curators, writers and other prominent experts from various fields. Offering interdisciplinary perspectives, SFMOMA 101 fosters new ideas and cultivates conversations about the intersection of art and everyday life.

What Light Can Do: Views on Photography

Tuesdays, September 6–October 4
6–7:30 p.m.
General public $125; members $110


From its beginnings in the mid-19th century to the present, photography has generated important artistic and scientific knowledge and has profoundly impacted people’s personal and political lives. Through a series of talks and conversations with curators, artists and scientists, participants in What Light Can Do are encouraged to consider the evolution and practice of photography. Talks within this series include:

  • September 6, Invisibility: Corey Keller, SFMOMA curator of photography
  • September 13, Landscape: Michael Light, artist
  • September 20, Science: Alex Filippenko, UC Berkeley professor of astronomy, and Daniel Fletcher, UC Berkeley professor of bioengineering, in conversation with Elizabeth Kessler, Stanford University adjunct professor of art history
  • September 27, Narrative: Reagan Louie, artist, in conversation with Erin O’Toole, SFMOMA Baker Street Foundation Associate Curator of Photography
  • October 4, Process: Meghann Riepenhoff, artist, in conversation with Abner Nolan, California College of the Arts senior adjunct professor of photography

Cosmic Ray: Bay Area Art and Experiment, 1950s to Now

Tuesdays, October 18–November 15
6–7:30 p.m.
General public $125; members $110

From the Beats to the hippies, from the Gold Rush to the tech boom, the San Francisco Bay Area has been a place for outsiders, mavericks and dreamers. Its diverse artistic output can be characterized by a willingness to experiment, especially through collaboration across creative fields. In a series of illuminating conversations, writers, scholars, curators and historians will discuss Bay Area art's cross-pollination with music, poetry, performance, film and activism. Participants in this series are inspired to examine artistic practice within the broader context of the region's unique social and cultural history.

Studio Workshops

SFMOMA Studio Workshops offer an intimate educational environment, providing opportunities for participants to develop their own creative projects through conversations and hands-on learning in the museum’s Koret Education Center studios. Workshops utilize multiple museum resources—from current exhibitions to collections in storage—to help enhance the creative process.

The photographer's daughter getting ready for prom

Janet Delaney, My Daughter Getting Ready for Prom, 2008; photo: courtesy the artist

Reinventing the Family Album

Tuesdays, September 6–October 4
6:30–8:30 p.m.
General public $250; members $220

Led by photographers Janet Delaney and Stephen McLaren, participants in Reinventing the Family Album will use their personal family photographs to construct their own narratives and learn about the processes artists employ when creating a body of work.

Techniques for editing, sequencing and presenting digital or print media within the context of the family album will be discussed. Over the course of five weeks participants will develop projects with their instructors, participate in interactive lectures and have the special opportunity to study stored works from the SFMOMA collection relevant to the topic of photographing the family.

Janet Delaney is a fine art photographer. She is currently documenting the rapid transformation of the SoMa district of San Francisco. A mother of two, she has photographed her family extensively. Delaney has received three National Endowment for the Arts Grants. Her photographs are in museum collections, including SFMOMA’s permanent collection, and have been shown both nationally and internationally. In 2013 she published South of Market with Mack of London. In 2015, this series was exhibited in a one-person show at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Delaney taught at UC Berkeley for 15 years and, in 2015, in the undergraduate and graduate programs at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Stephen McLaren has been a freelance photographer, writer and curator since 2005. Before this he was a television producer and director working on documentaries in the UK. Over the last few years he has written several books on photography, the most recent being Family Photography Now, published by Thames and Hudson. McLaren writes about modern photographic practice for the British Journal of Photography and IMA Japan. He has taught photography classes at Tate Liverpool, The School of Life in London and The Guardian newspaper.

Various Small Books: Reading and Making Artists’ Books

Tuesdays, October 18–November 15
6:30-8:30 p.m.
General public $250; members $220

Led by Kathleen Walkup and Barbara Rominski, this hands-on workshop will explore creative thinking around the book as a vehicle for artistic expression through reading, viewing and making artists’ books. Participants will develop conceptual ideas that can be realized through a series of classic and innovative book structures using basic bookmaking techniques such as cutting, folding, gluing and binding. While gaining deeper insight into the medium through hands-on projects, participants will also join in interactive lectures and have the special opportunity to study and handle works from the SFMOMA Research Library’s Special Collection of artists’ books.

Kathleen Walkup is a writer, curator and Professor of Book Art and Director of the Book Art Program at Mills College, where she teaches typography and letterpress printing, artists’ bookmaking and book history. Other teaching includes Stanford University, Camberwell College of Art, London, City College of San Francisco and University of Georgia’s campus in Cortona, Italy. Her essay The Book is a Public Place appears in the anthology Threads (2016). She curated Hand, Voice & Vision: Books from Women’s Studio Workshop and was a 2015 Stephen Botein Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society.

Barbara Rominski, current Director of Archives with the San Francisco Opera, was the head of the SFMOMA Research Library and Archives from 2003–2016. In this role, she built the library’s artists’ book collection, supported Bay Area book artists and publishers through the comprehensive collecting of their work and shared the collection through interactive lectures with artists, historians and students from all over the Bay Area.

New Commitment to Colleges and Universities

SFMOMA introduces new tailored experiences for higher education groups that connect the academic community to the museum and beyond. These offerings, free to Bay Area college and university groups, include interactive tours of the museum and object study sessions at the Collections Center, SFMOMA’s collections research and storage center.

Expanded Support for School Groups and Teachers

Driven by a commitment to public collaboration, SFMOMA is working responsively with the San Francisco Unified School District to create intensive alignment of the museum’s K–12 educational offerings with contemporary classroom practice. SFMOMA offers an expanded array of educational resources for elementary, middle and high school teachers to use in the classroom and the museum, including discussion questions for artworks, lesson plans focusing on photography, artwork guides for select paintings and sculptures, graphic organizers and worksheets, artist interviews and animations, among other offerings, which have been developed and tested in close collaboration with a cohort of Bay Area teachers.

SFMOMA aims to welcome more K–12 students to the museum than ever before, with 55,000 K–12 student visits annually, and free admission for all visitors aged 18 and younger. The museum offers free school visits for K–12 classes, including more bookable, guided tours for grades 3–12 and interactive teen tours tailored to complement high school curricula, as well as new tours for grades K–2 and Stage and Screen visits, focusing on film and performance. The museum also supports free teacher-guided visits with training, materials and the ability to make reservations in advance. Beginning this fall, SFMOMA will increase access for schools by providing transportation to the museum for a number of SFUSD classes.

Teacher programs, including a Back-to-Museum Open House, Visual Thinking Strategies Soirées and Teacher Institutes, introduce educators to SFMOMA’s collection and special exhibitions; offer techniques and resources for integrating works of art into classroom curricula; and provide a forum for dialogue and exchange. Additionally, SFMOMA will provide Teacher Passes to SFUSD K–12 classroom teachers and administrators for free museum admission, further empowering educators as lifelong learners and facilitators of art-based education.

Adult Education programs are generously supported by The Moldaw Family, in memory of Stuart Moldaw.

Significant support for Education and Public Practice at SFMOMA is provided by the Pritzker Education Fund and the Leanne B. Roberts Fund for Education. Major support is provided by Doris Fisher, the Koret Foundation and the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation.

Generous support is provided by the Carlson Family Foundation, Dana and Bob Emery, The Morrison & Foerster Foundation, Deborah and Kenneth Novack, the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, James Hormel and Michael Nguyen and the Modern Art Council Endowment Fund for Education and Public Practice.

For more information on educational programming and resources, visit sfmoma.org/educators.