Mentorship and Exhibition Fellowship with SFAC Galleries

The San Francisco Arts Commission acknowledges that we are on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone. We affirm the sovereign rights of their community as First Peoples and are committed to supporting the traditional and contemporary evolution of the American Indian community and uplifting contemporary indigenous voices.

The San Francisco Arts Commission is committed to creating a city where all artists and cultural workers have the freedom, resources and platform to share their stories, art and culture and where race does not predetermine one’s success in life. We also acknowledge that we occupy traditional and unceded Ohlone land. Fueled by these beliefs, we commit to addressing the systemic inequities within our agency, the City and County of San Francisco and the broader arts and culture sector. This work requires that we focus on race as we confront inequities of the past, reveal inequities of the present and develop effective strategies to move all of us towards an equitable future.

Installation view of an exhibition in the main gallery
Installation view of Transcending Physicality: The Essence of Place. Photography by Aaron Wojack

Project Overview

The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) Galleries invites emerging artists to apply for a Mentorship and Exhibition Fellowship opportunity. Two artists—one artist residing in San Francisco and the other from the San Francisco Bay Area—to engage with a curator/mentor over the course of ten months, culminating in a two-person exhibition opening in the Fall of 2024 in the SFAC Main Gallery.  

The total budget for the Fellowship Program is $9500 for honoraria and $5000 for production per artist. 

Payment will be issued in multiple stages based on set deliverables outlined in the Letter of Agreement.  

Project Description

The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) Galleries is pleased to announce a Mentorship and Exhibition Fellowship for emerging artists. The purpose of this RFQ is to identify two artists—one artist residing in San Francisco and the other from the San Francisco Bay Area—to engage with a curator/mentor over the course of ten months, culminating in a two-person exhibition opening in the Fall of 2024 in the SFAC Main Gallery.  

This new program will provide meaningful professional and career development for two emerging artists through a mentorship relationship with a local curator. The fellowship will provide unique opportunities for the artists to learn and seek guidance from the curator and the resources at the San Francisco Arts Commission. For ten months, the artists and curator will conduct regular studio visits, working to develop new work to be part of the exhibition at the SFAC Main Gallery. SFAC will also work with the curator to develop networking opportunities with local and regional curators and artists for the selected artists, deepening their connections in the arts community with the goal to build substantial roots of networks for future possible collaborations.  

The fellowship program centers and prioritizes the work and voices of emerging and under-represented artists. The fellowship program will also include an opportunity for the artist to potentially partner with organizations in San Francisco for a public program or as a resource for the development of work for the exhibition.  

San Francisco Arts Commission: www.sfartscommission.org  

Selection Process

Arts Commission staff will review all completed applications based on selection criteria and develop a list of applications for presentation to the Artist Review Panel.

The following criteria will be used when scoring applications: 

  • The RFQ is open to practicing individual artists working primarily in visual arts who have not had any major institutional exhibitions.  
  • Artists should be 18 years or older. 
  • Artists that recently graduated from a BFA or MFA program are welcome to apply.  
  • Artists enrolled in a degree-seeking program at a university or higher-education institution during the 10-month fellowship period ARE NOT eligible. 
  • Two artists will be awarded this fellowship: one of whom MUST reside in San Francisco and the other will be open to an artist residing in the San Francisco Bay Area.  
  • Artists must be able to work with the curator and be available for monthly studio visits, at minimum once a month in the first four months.  
  • Applicants are to submit their qualifications for consideration.  
  • Any applications proposing a specific project will be disqualified.  
  • Artistic merit will be considered and may be judged by such measures as originality of previous work and artistic vision. 
  • Priority will be given to artists whose work reflects a significant or direct relationship between them and distinct racial or cultural communities.  
  • Artist must demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly about their practice and the perceived benefit of this fellowship.  
  • Application must be completed and submitted by the application deadline. Late submissions will NOT be considered. Incomplete applications or applications that do not follow the guidelines will be disqualified.  


  • Artists must be available for a fellowship period of ten consecutive months. Please see Project Timeline for details.  
  • During the Fellowship period, the artist must be available for studio visits or check-ins with the curator, at minimum for one meeting a month for the first four months and as needed leading up to the exhibition.  
  • Artists will produce a body of work sufficient for a two-person exhibition in the Main Gallery. 
  • Artists must manage the allocated budget for the creation of new work as needed.  
  • Artists must meet all project deadlines and perform work in a timely and professional manner.  
  • Artists must communicate clearly with the curator and SFAC staff on a regular basis.  


  • Artists must become an approved City Supplier in order to receive any payments. If the artist is unwilling or unable to become a City Supplier after selection, they are ineligible for participation in the Fellowship program.  
  • Artists are expected to sign a legal letter of agreement outlining their participation in this program.  


How To Apply

Applications are available through SlideRoom, an online application system for calls for entry. There is no charge for using SlideRoom. Please be sure to allow adequate time to submit your application as technical difficulties may occur. Applications that are mailed, emailed, faxed, or hand-delivered will not be considered. 

Applications will not be accepted after the February 20, 2024 11:59 p.m. deadline.  

Questions? Please contact SFAC Galleries Associate Curator, Jackie Im at sfac.galleries@sfgov.org  

Your application should not propose a specific project. Rather your time during this Fellowship should be used to develop new work and explore subjects and ideas that expand your practice in conversation with the curator. Applications that propose the creation of a specific work or project will not be considered.  

1. Application Questions

  • Summarize your artistic focus and professional career, especially how this Fellowship would impact your career. 
  • Specify any experience/involvement engaging with culturally and racially diverse communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.  
  • Please share why you are a strong candidate to receive this opportunity at this time? 

2. Resume

  • Please include exhibitions, performances, publications, fellowships, awards, residencies, and other professional experiences on your resume.

3. Previous Work Samples


  • Applicant may submit up to 10 images (up to 5MB per file)
  • Image files must be at least 72 dpi and no larger than 1280 x 1280 pixels  
  • Jpg, jpeg, png, gif, and tiff file formats are accepted.


  • Applicant may submit up to 2 videos (up to 250MB per file) 
  • Video files must not exceed 5 minutes total 
  • Do not submit a highlight reel. Excerpts are fine 
  • M4v, mp4, and mov file formats accepted 
  • You may also submit links to video as long as the files have been edited to the exact excerpt(s) 


  • Applicant may submit up to 3 audio files (up to 30 MB per file) 
  • Mp3 and wma file formats accepted 

4. Checklist
Please include the title, medium, year, and location for each work. You may also include a brief description (50 words) about each work.  


Please note that Arts Commission staff will be available to answer questions about this call until 5:00 PM (PST) on the deadline date, February 20, 2024.

SlideRoom technical support is available Monday – Saturday by email, 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM (PST) support@slideroom.com.

Project Timeline

RFQ Issued 
January 30, 2024 
RFQ Deadline 
February 20, 2024 
Artist Selection Panel 
February 2024 
Artist Notification 
March 2024 

Fellowship Period 
March – December 2024 

Installation Dates in the Gallery 
September 16 – 25, 2024 
Exhibition Dates 
September 26 – December 14, 2024 



Eligibility is open to emerging, practicing artists who reside in the Greater Bay Area. Entries not meeting eligibility guidelines will be withdrawn from consideration. 

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

December 18
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online
Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

December 16
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

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Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

December 11
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

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Community Investments Committee Meeting

December 09
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online