SFAI is a place of hidden histories, tucked into corners of the campus and literally carved into the walls.

The past and present of making, living, and breathing art are one here—a mix of concrete, epic views, labyrinthine hallways, people, and art.

Take a tour of SFAI's campus

SFAI | Chestnut Street Campus

800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

SFAI’s historic 800 Chestnut Street campus, located in Russian Hill, has:

  • Studios and classrooms with individual studios for honors students
  • Walter and McBean Galleries—a professional exhibition space featuring work by international contemporary artists
  • Diego Rivera Gallery—a student-run space that provides opportunities to curate and exhibit work
  • Prentice and Paul Sack Still Lights Galleries for photo-based work
  • Anne Bremer Memorial Library
  • State-of-the-art digital labs supporting sound, photography, film, video, design, web programming, and print
  • Rooftop amphitheater
  • Courtyard café

Prospective students are encouraged to schedule a visit.

The general public is also welcome to explore the campus: see the Diego Rivera Mural, visit our galleries, eat at the café, attend one of our many events, or rent a venue for special occasions.

Diego Rivera Gallery

Chestnut Street Campus

The Diego Rivera Gallery, home to SFAI’s historic Diego Rivera Mural, is a student-directed exhibition space for work by SFAI students.

The gallery provides an opportunity for students from all academic programs to present their work or curate in a gallery setting; to use the space for large-scale installations; or to experiment with artistic concepts and concerns in a public venue.

Students submit applications for exhibitions in November and March annually, and a jury of alumni selects the artists who will exhibit. Students may apply to have an individual show, to participate in a group show, or to curate a show. About 40 shows per year are scheduled and close to 200 students exhibit each year.


Open daily for exhibition and mural viewing,
9 AM–7 PM.

Opening receptions are on Tuesdays, with an artist talk at 5:30 PM and a reception from 5–7 PM.

Note: Hours are currently reduced due to COVID-19. Please contact facilities@sfai.edu for more information.

Walter and McBean Galleries

Chestnut Street Campus

The Walter and McBean Galleries, established in 1969, present exhibitions at the forefront of contemporary art practice.

The gallery serves as a laboratory for innovative and adventurous projects and commissions new work from emerging and established artists. SFAI’s Public Programs develop meaningful interactions between artists, students, and audiences through lectures, education opportunities, and artist-driven experiences.

Together, the exhibitions and public programs of the San Francisco Art Institute promote an environment that catalyzes the creative processes of its student artists and thinkers, and creates intimate connections between the SFAI community and the public.

The SFAI Café

Chestnut Street Campus

The SFAI Café offers visitors and the campus community local, organic fare, and panoramic views of San Francisco Bay.

The menu features daily specials, and a selection of vegetarian and vegan options. Visitors, tourists, and the campus community are all welcome!

Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and other light fare, all food at the SFAI Cafè is made from ingredients that are organic, local, and seasonal. For breakfast and throughout the morning, we offer pastries, bagels, organic fresh-squeezed juice, bacon and eggs, and hot cereal. For lunch and throughout the afternoon, we offer soups, salads, sandwiches, entrées, and desserts. We also serve organic fair-trade coffee, espresso, and organic teas.


Hours (Spring / Fall Semesters)

Monday–Thursday: 8:30 am–8 pm

Friday: 8:30 am–3 pm



The SFAI Café is located next to the Zellerbach Quad, offering rooftop access and both indoor and outdoor seating. This light-filled space with large windows offers excellent views of the bay. Informal gatherings before visiting artist lectures are hosted here, as are many SFAI events and receptions.