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.
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Recent Program Studies: Revitalizing an Urban Arts Market
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!
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.