Street Artist Licensing
We help artists turn their passion into a business.

The San Francisco Arts Commission supports local artists in making a living by licensing them to sell original, handcrafted art in public spaces.

Artist Vivena Cuyugan at Justin Herman Plaza.

Since 1972, the San Francisco Arts Commission has licensed artists to sell their original work on the city's bustling streets. Today, artists join in an unparalleled City program that champions their efforts as business people and as artists. Enterprising street artists delight shoppers with the variety of their handcrafted wares—from amber earrings to wooden sculptures—in some of the city’s most-frequented areas: Fisherman’s Wharf, Justin Herman Plaza, Downtown and Union Square.

Participating artists must demonstrate to a screening committee appointed by the Mayor that they make the artwork they sell. In return, they receive certificates licensing them to sell their work in the spaces designated by the Board of Supervisors. Every morning, the artists hold a lottery at various locations to determine which space each artist will occupy that day.

The license fee is $184 quarterly and $738 annually. Become licensed today!

Some items for which certificates are not issued

Food items, incense, perfumes, body oils, soaps, or other cosmetic products which come in contact with the human body or skin. For these items, contact the Police Department at the Hall of Justice, (415) 553-1115, to inquire about a Peddler’s Permit.

The Street Artist Licensing program is overseen by the Street Artists Committee, which meets the second Wednesday, odd-numbered months, at 2:30 PM Street Artists Screenings take place the last Thursday each month, 9:30 AM–1:00 PM Both meetings take place at 401 Van Ness, Ste. 125, San Francisco, CA. See Important Dates for upcoming meeting times. Agendas and Minutes can be found here.
May 01, 2017 / 2:00 PM
City Hall | Rm 416
June 05, 2017 / 2:00 PM
City Hall | Rm 416
July 03, 2017 / 2:00 PM
City Hall | Rm 416
May 25, 2017 / 9:30 AM
War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
June 29, 2017 / 9:30 AM
War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125

There are no announcements to show at this time.

Program Handbook

Review the Street Artists Program "Bluebook."

Screening Criteria

Screening Criteria 

Recent Program Studies: Revitalizing an Urban Arts Market

An Evaluation of the Street Artists Licensing Program: Report (PDF)
Feasibility Analysis of Program Evaluation Recommendations (PDF)

Helpful Resources to Boost Your Brand and Build Your Business!

SFMADE is a nonprofit focused on developing the local manufacturing sector and engaging the community with local manufacturers. They offer a “brand platform” to enable local manufacturers to better promote their wares and help consumers identify locally made products; certify that your products are made in San Francisco; provide opportunities to connect with customers through a directory and events.

The Mission Grafica program at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts offers workshops for printmaking and screen printing as well as studio equipment rentals, all at a low cost.

Read our guide for more tips!

Artist Business Marketing Guide

A.

The Arts Commission does not issue a certificate/license/permit for the activity of street music or performing, as there is no provision in the Street Artist Ordinance for the certification of such activities. Contact the Entertainment Commission for further information in this category.

Calls for Artists

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SEE CONTEMPORARY ART

The SFAC Galleries curates FREE dynamic exhibitions that feature local artists alongside national and international artists.

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artist grants

We offer an array of grant opportunities for San Francisco-based artists.

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What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Street Artists Committee Meeting

May 10 to September 13
/
2:30 PM to 4:30 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

May 22
/
12:30 PM to 2:30 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

May 17
/
3:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

May 15
/
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125