Kearny Street Workshop

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Founded in 1972, during the height of the Asian American Movement, Kearny Street Workshop is the oldest Asian Pacific American multidisciplinary arts organization in the country. ​ ​Offering classes and workshops, salons and student presentations, as well as professionally curated and produced exhibitions, performances, readings and screenings, KSW makes artists out of community members and community members out of artists. For the past 43 years, KSW has nurtured creative spirit, offered an important platform for new voices to be heard, and connected artists with community. Our mission is to present, produce, and promote art that empowers Asian Pacific American artists and communities. We envision a more just society that fully incorporates APA voices informed by our cultural values, historical roots, and contemporary issues. [1]


1246 Folsom St

Contact Information

(415) 503-0520​


Jim Dong, Lora Joh Foo, and Mike Chin

Dates of Operation

1972 - present

Type of Space

Studio and Gallery

Community Served

Asian Pacific American artists and communities


Kearny Street Workshop also hosts an annual arts festival, entitled APAture. For 15 years, APAture has been a site of dialogue, collaboration, and political action between artists and community members around contemporary issues affecting the Asian and Pacific Islander community. Each year, submissions are accepted for the categories of visual arts, comics & illustration, literary arts, music, film, and performing arts. In 2013, the show came back after a four-year hiatus and has been continuing since[2].

Additional Information and Resources

Kearny Street Workshop

About This Article

As part of Take This Hammer: Art + Media from the Bay Area, curated by Christian L. Frock for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (March 11 – August 14, 2016) the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism developed a timeline for the Bay Area’s history of art and media activism. On display in the YBCA gallery, the timeline is represented as a collection of one hundred and twenty stories arranged like a row of books on a library shelf. Starting with “SHELLMOUNDS,” the earliest evidence of human settlement in Bay Area, each title represents a creative work, event, organization, movement, history or biography that has played a role in shaping the particular qualities of Bay Area art and media activism.

In trying to survey our past, these are just a few of the countless stories we have to draw upon. We cannot tell them all since not all books will fit on one shelf. However, we hope that viewers will enjoy browsing this collection and be reminded of the deep roots of creativity, diversity, love and political liberation that have made the Bay Area so special. We have made our selections in the spirit of James Baldwin and Take This Hammer in order to highlight stories of uncompromising clarity and courageous artistic vision.

Timeline Bookshelf.png

About this Article

This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.


  1.!about/czv1, 6-29-2015
  2., "Kearny Street Workshop Instagram, 2016"