When it opened in 1984, Hunter’s Point Shipyard created the biggest artist colony in the United States. More than 250 artists who work in the Shipyard studio battle evictions from the U.S. Navy and the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the mid-1970s, San Francisco’s rent was on the rise, and artist communities struggled to maintain adequate space and community. Jacques Terzian, an artist and founder of The Point, leased Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard with a few fellow artists. Together, these artists continued to renovate the neglected Navy repair yard into affordable studios for rent.
In 1985, the City of San Francisco and the Navy announced plans to rebuild and retake the Shipyard. However, the Hunter’s Point Shipyard Artists were going to give up their homes and worked with activists and environmentalists to protest the plans. A combination of art auctions and coalition work funded the effort, stalling and eventually ending the City’s push to retake the Shipyard.
In recent years, individual buildings have been evicted by the Navy, and the Hunter’s Point Shipyard Artists community now expands to Islais Creek Studios.
The artist community only opens its doors to the public three times a year with its Open Studios. The Fall and Spring Open Studios span one or two weekends, and artists in the seven large buildings put their art on display, often using the opportunity to sell and promote their recent work. The Shipyard also opens for the Holiday Party & Art Show, on the first Sunday in December.
Open Studios features artists of a diverse cast of mediums, from found-object sculpture to metal and wirework, and even Sumi ink. The Shipyard welcomes all artists dedicated to their craft and who seek a welcoming community for their artistic voice.
Shipyard Artist Spotlight
Carrie Ann Plank: In a modern society powered by information and data, Plank seeks to create visual interpretations of these information systems and equations. Her mediums include painting, glasswork, traditional and printmaking, but Plank utilizes CNC routers, laser cutters, and other non-traditional technologies in her artmaking. Her work is full of repetitive patterns, matrices, and geometric shapes, creating a bridge between digital and fine art.
Michael J. Kruzich: Trained at the prestigious Mosaic Art School in Ravenna, Italy, Kruzich uses ancient and Byzantine techniques to create beautiful mosaics from natural stone and Italian glass. The influence of dance, theatre, pop culture, and mythology is evident in Kruzich’s work and gives his images a unique vibrancy.
Carol Jessen: A California native who has been participating in Open Studios since 1988, Jessen’s primary work centers around oil painting, pastels, printmaking, and collage. Jessen depicts cityscapes and explores the effects of fog, rain, light, and darkness. Her oil paintings take the ordinary moments of everyday life and capture both the fleeting nature and feelings of anonymity in the big City.