Don’t let summer mark the end of your freedom and don’t allow your natural curiosity to hibernate through the fall. Keep your creative spirit alive with adventurous opportunities to make and think about art; the bay area has plenty. Whether you’re up for a history lesson or a class in DIY cat toys, unlock the mysteries of visual culture by planning a few arty field trips this fall. For each fun excursion we've discovered, we've provided you questions that you'll need to answer.
Body as Agent: Changing Fashion Art
Sept. 12 - Nov. 15
Richmond Art Center
What is wearable art? The Richmond Art Center has been considering this question since their first exhibit examining the genre in 1983. Body as Agent provides an updated glimpse at current trends in art that envelops you, like “upcycling” or creative reuse of materials, featuring over 30 artists from around the world. The Richmond Art Center also offers an exciting selection of affordable art classes in ceramics, screen printing, book arts and more. Head over to The Center and make the ceramic soap dish of your dreams.
Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival
SF Center for the Book
How do you make a fine art print with a steamroller? Each year, the San Francisco Center for the Book creates huge prints using the surface of Rhode Island Street, a vintage steam roller and a giant printing plate made of hard-carved “battleship linoleum.” This printmaking extravaganza includes art-making activities, demos and an arts and crafts fair with over fifty local vendors.
The Prelinger Library
What was life like before the Internet? Find out at the Prelinger library, a hidden gem in San Francisco that specializes in unusual printed material from the 19th and 20th century, most of which is donated. Pore through important papers, books and maps at the library, which is “hosted” by different people during semi-regular hours. In September, enjoy Library Fridays with the Elsewhere Philatelic Society, a collective of librarians and artists who will help you find the ephemera of your dreams.
Crazy Cat Lady Crafts & Intro to Shibori Dying
Sept. 27 & 28
How do you make cat toys and indigo-dyed textiles? They may be two separate things, but they are both fashionable, with proven staying power. Workshop sets the standard for classes taught by local creatives who you how to do almost anything creative, from braiding hair to mixing cocktails. September is chock-full of opportunities to get crafty, including an intro to Shibori, the ancient art of Japanese indigo resist, taught by Simone Busuttil, a great teacher (and friend of mine) who will show you how to make a beautiful set of blue and white cloth napkins. Make your learning experience a double feature by learning Katy Atchison’s pro tips on making cat teepees, cat nip toys, and scratching posts. Don’t let your cat suffer with one of those beige-carpeted eyesores from Petco. Make your own fabulous kitty totem pole, or whatever might please your favorite feline friend.
Rituals and Remembrance
Oct. 14, 2015 - Jan. 3, 2016
How do different cultures commemorate death? For the Oakland Museum’s annual Dia de Los Muertos exhibition, explore this question through art. Conceptual artist Yvonne Escalante, graffiti writer Safety first, and printmakers Jesus Barazza and Melanie Cervantes are among the contributing artists who will exhibit work alongside installations by local school groups and the Alameda County Public Health Department, making for an unusual-but-intriguing combination.
Oct. 17, 2015 - Jan. 10, 2016
de Young Museum
What did American and European art look like 100 years ago? Find out this fall at the de Young, where a centennial anniversary exhibition of artworks shown at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, which celebrated San Francisco’s rise from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and the fancy new Panama Canal. The de Young has gathered over 200 of the 11,000 works exhibited in the pavilions at the Expo, including masterful sculptors and painters including Rodin, Monet, Courbet and Cassatt.
Oct. 30, 2015 - Feb. 7, 2016
Asian Art Museum
How did Japanese artists influence westerners? Some of the usual suspects featured in the de Young’s Jewel City exhibition were heavily influenced by Japanese artists. Though the introduction of Japanese aesthetics contributed to Orientalism in the late 19th century, exploring the early cross-cultural influence is bound to fascinate. Extra credit: After checking out evidence of the Eastern influence on Western art history, find out how the museum’s new contemporary collection is shaping up in First Look, a concurrent exhibition on view through Oct. 11.
San Francisco Fashion Week
Sept. 26 & 27
How is technology shaping fashion? San Francisco’s Fashion Week is not as established as those in Paris and New York, but this year’s theme is decidedly Bay Area. Posing a question about the intersection of fashion and technology, new collections by international designers will reflect this relationship. A week of events is coming up at the end of September, including fashion shows in both the ready-to-wear and couture categories. Take everything you’ve learned from the judges on Project Runway and go critique a real runway show. Tickets are $20.
Character Studies: Clay From The Collection
San Jose Museum of Art
Who Are The Local Legends of Clay? The Bay Area has produced world-renowned ceramicists, pioneers in the field of clay, who contributed to globally influential art movements. The San Jose Museum of Art is known for stunning surveys of thematic collections of locally-produced works, this time culled from their collection of legendary figurative ceramic works from the likes of Robert Arneson, Viola Frey and Peter Voulkos, along with pieces from a new generation of young Bay Area ceramicists.
On view through Sept. 27
What are some ways to get physical in a digital World? Artists at di Rosa in Napa are exploring this question in a new exhibition called Body Talk. Is that a reference to dance pop queen Robyn? It’s pure speculation, but you can find out at di Rosa, one of the best Bay Area spots for a field trip that offers both natural and artistic amazement. Keep an eye out for the roaming peacocks!