A Vibrant New Heart For the Art in San Francisco

A short walk from the uphill end of the Fisherman’s Wharf trolley line is a former working-class neighborhood that is the city’s new home for the arts

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Wikimedia Commons

SoMa — which stands for South of Market — was once the home of the longshoremen who worked the city's docks. Now, arts institutions, artists, small presses and galleries are flocking to the area. The bustling arts community is anchored by a pair of institutions that sit side-by-side. One is the new home of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), a massive red building designed by Italian architect Mario Botta whose striped skylight has fast become a well-known landmark. The other is The Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens, which is dedicated to multicultural arts.

At SFMOMA, works by such well-known California artists as Joan Brown, Richard Diebenkorn and Robert Arneson are on view in the airy, exquisitely crafted galleries along with works by Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock and other major 20th-century artists. Throughout the SoMa area, the folks in the arts community are taking advantage of their proximity to each other by planning joint projects.

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