Yerba Buena Gardens Center for the Arts

The Magic of the Contemporary

Making art is an unstoppable human impulse. Every time, every place, and every culture possesses artists who try to define the world through their creation, and every time, place, and culture benefits tremendously from the work of these men and women. It is in places like the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) that the artists of today can find a platform to showcase their work, allowing us to know ourselves a little more.

The YBCA began in 1993, resulting from the desire to create a space that straddled the fence between two worlds: high profile on the one side, and accessible on the other. The founders wanted a space where innovative contemporary film and performance art could safely exist, a place that might one day become an artistic hotbed in the Bay Area, and where artists could find inspiration, support, and an audience.

They succeeded beyond their dreams, and now the YBCA’s legacy reigns stands high in San Francisco. The museum has commissioned over 200 original performance pieces, films, and exhibitions, and helped hundreds of emerging artists make vibrant careers for themselves. The YBCA also performs a heavy outreach role in the Bay Area community, launching such programs as Young Artists at Work (a youth arts & activism training program) and Bay Area Now (a multi-disciplinary arts festival).

A visitor to the YBCA will be submerged in the world of envelope-pushing contemporary art, and will see works that will shock, amaze, and inspire. Represented in the museum are painters, photographers, storytellers, sculptors, filmmakers, dancers, architects, songwriters, scholars, choirs, and creators of every ilk and discipline.

Along with the films and performances (and usually every day has at least a couple of these happening), the YBCA also possesses a small gallery featuring—you guessed it—contemporary work by the freshest voices in the tactile art scene. Everything about the museum seeks to press contemporary art into the heart of the community, and this makes it rather unique in the current museum world.

The visit to the museum completed, guests can wander outside and enjoy peace and serenity of the Yerba Buena Gardens. Grab a picnic lunch at the farmers market, lounge on the grass, and enjoy being surrounded by the heart of San Francisco’s cultural world.

The YBCA is located at 710 Mission Street and is open from noon to 8:00pm, Thursday through Saturdays, and noon to 6:00pm on Sundays. Although it is closed for every major holiday, admission is free on the first Tuesday of every month. Admission is $10, but there are discounts for students, teachers, and seniors. More information can be found at, or by calling 415-321-1307.

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