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 $191 quarterly and $764 annually.

Get Your License!

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.
July 10, 2017 / 2:00 PM
City Hall | Rm 416
August 07, 2017 / 2:00 PM
City Hall | Rm 416
September 11, 2017 / 2:00 PM
City Hall | Rm 416
October 02, 2017 / 2:00 PM
City Hall | Rm 416
November 06, 2017 / 2:00 PM
City Hall | Rm 416
May 30, 2017
Ryan Dempsey talks about his partnership between his business selling repurposed climbing rope as leashes and his dedication to supporting local dog rescues. Ryan is one of the Street Artists who regularly sells at Justin Herman Plaza. Take a peek at the Justin Herman Plaza Marketplace, Ryan's...

Program Handbook

Review the Street Artists Program "Bluebook."

Screening Criteria

Screening Criteria 

Example Signs and Labels

Example Signs and Labels 

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 only issues Street Artist licenses for individuals selling their own handmade crafts.

For performances on the street, please contact the Entertainment Commission.

If you would like to be licensed for Fisherman's Warf or another waterfront area, please contact the Port.

Calls for Artists

Make sure you don't miss our Calls for Artists by signing up for our newsletter today!

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SEE CONTEMPORARY ART

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

Learn More

artist grants

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

Learn More

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Community Arts, Education & Grants Committee Meeting

July 11
/
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Full Arts Commission Meeting

July 10
/
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

City Hall | Rm 416
Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

July 24
/
12:30 PM to 2:30 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Street Artists Committee Meeting

July 12
/
2:30 PM to 4:30 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125