Arts and Culture

New Haight Street Art Center Champions Poster Art and Education

People having fun printing posters at the Haight Street Art Center

Guest Post by: Gail Barnes

Poster artists have always struggled to survive. A new poster artist collective that includes a print shop and gallery in the heart of Haight aims change the name of the game.

Serving not only the Lower Haight, but the city at large with educational programming, the Haight Street Art Center (HSAC), a 501(c)3 non-profit San Francisco arts collective established to promote poster art production and education, opened its doors to artists and the general public on Saturday, July 1, 2017.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Jeremy Fish’s iconic Bronze Bunny, it was off-to-the-races with art classes for kids and adults, gallery tours, and printing demonstrations. The evening concluded with a welcoming lecture from Mariusz Knorowski, Chief Curator at Poster Museum at Wilanów, the oldest poster museum in the world located in Warsaw, Poland.

Ann McNamee and Mariusz Knorowski

Cooperative Model

Founded on a cooperative operational model, the HSAC features a state-of-the-art print shop to be managed by and for artists. The Center’s business model offers artists low overhead costs to improve the economics for creating and selling poster art.

In addition to the print shop, the Center features community engagement facilities, including a classroom for teaching poster art techniques, a special events space, and a large gallery. With 7,000 square feet of gallery exhibition space, HSAC is one of the largest galleries devoted to poster art in the United States. Permanent and temporary exhibitions will be free of charge to the public, and the Center and its artists will sell silkscreen and offset prints.

“Haight Street Art Center is a game changer for posters artists,” artist and art director Chris Shaw, who is a co-founder of the Center told me. “Not only will artists have access to the best possible equipment at the lowest possible cost, but also a huge gallery for selling their art on favorable terms.”

Emma Chase giving out printed posters

Print Techniques

The Center’s print studio will initially focus on screen-printing, but will eventually offer a range of art print techniques, including etching, stone lithography, woodcut, and digital printing. HSAC will also provide agency services to help its members secure new commissions, expand their abilities, diversity their careers and protect their intellectual property.

“Even though poster art has played a huge role in San Francisco’s culture for more than 50 years, poster artists have always struggled to survive,” said artist Stanley Mouse. “HSAC gives artists a platform to do more of what we do best – create art and teach art – and to do it together in our own way.”

Kids’ art class

Art of Consciousness

In celebration of the Center’s opening and the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love, the inaugural exhibition, “The Art of Consciousness,” features more than 90 seminal works from 1965 to 1967. The exhibit will run from July 1 through September.

Poster artists Carolyn Ferris and Wes Wilson

On display will be never-before-seen Family Dog original art from the “Big Five” of San Francisco rock poster art – Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, and Wes Wilson – whose vision inspired thousands of young people in San Francisco and provided the visual vocabulary for the vibrant community that formed in the Haight-Ashbury.

Check it out

The vibe is great, the poster art is phenomenal, and entrance is free! Check it out at 215 Haight Street, near the corner of Laguna.

Poster for the last Beatles show by Wes Wilson

 

Gail Barnes is a devotee of all things shiny, electronic and buzzing, with a passion for conservation and rock.

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