Farewell from McEvoy Arts

Dear friends and fans of McEvoy Arts,

On September 2, McEvoy Arts permanently closed to the public. While news of any institution’s closure may be difficult, I take pride in our accomplishments as I write this last message to you and the people who made this almost six-year experience exceptional.

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts was established on October 28, 2017 by Nion McEvoy to bring the beauty and brilliance of the McEvoy Family Collection into the public sphere. I remain honored that to be hired as the founding director. My time here has been rewarding in so many ways.  

Since opening, we’ve presented nearly 100 exhibitions, film programs, readings, performances, and events, all built from the themes and ideas in the McEvoy Family Collection. These programs were made available free or cheap to everyone.

While all the exhibitions embraced powerful themes found in the collection, a few are notable for the strong interest they produced, beginning with la mère la mer (2017-18), a whimsical survey that accentuated connections across the artworks about mothers and the sea. Others include Isaac Julien’s Lessons of the Hour (2020-21), a powerful multimedia exhibition on the life of Frederick Douglass; Orlando (2020), an exhibition of photographs curated by actress Tilda Swinton that explored themes of identity central to Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel of the same name; and Ragnar Kjartansson: Scenes from Western Culture (2018), a multiscreen video exhibition from the collection, to which was added a significant painting by French Rococo painter Jean-Antoine Watteau, The Fortune Teller (c. 1710), made possible through a loan from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

We commissioned dozens of artists and curators and partnered with too many organizations to name to produce new artworks, exhibitions, and events. The projects we made together shared new perspectives and amplified the collection’s themes.

Even though the gallery is no longer open at 1150 25th Street in San Francisco, there are several exemplary projects in the world that you can still enjoy.

  • SOUNDWALK, Ellen Reid’s immersive, GPS-enabled public artwork that uses music to illuminate the natural environment continues in Golden Gate Park through June 2024. Featuring performances by Kronos Quartet and others, the quiet beauty of this free and accessible program, commissioned in partnership with the Kronos Festival for the 2021 exhibition Next to You, is not to be missed.
  • McEvoy Arts final exhibition, What are words worth?, wraps with essays by noted Bay Area writers Dodie Bellamy and Connie Zheng that are now available at The Back Room at Small Press Traffic. We are proud to add these co-commissioned pieces to our roster of collaborative partnerships. Click here to read these authors’ personal reflections on language, writing, and place.
  • Memories to Light, another project made for Next to You, is a film collage of Asian American home movies featuring a commissioned score by composers and performers Danny Clay and Theresa Wong. The film is directed by Chet Canlas and co-produced with the Center for Asian American Media. On Thursday, September 28, 2023, FOR-SITE Foundation presents a screening of the film with a live performance of the soundtrack at Fort Point. Find more information and reserve free tickets by clicking here.

You can find all our exhibitions and events at mcevoyarts.org. Sometime later this fall, the website will shut-down and a version of it will be saved on the Internet Archive. Please visit us there often.

So while we have ceased operations, we did what we set out to do—to bring the arts and humanities to the people. The only thing we asked of you is to visit, spend some time with the art, and walk away empowered to see and feel the world more fully.

Of course, we could not have done this work alone. There are many people and businesses that deserve our praise and gratitude for their contributions. The inspired and dedicated talents of McEvoy Arts’ small and mighty staff including Jen Loman, Amanda Nudelman, Dylan Sherman, and others, past and current, were instrumental to our success. Please watch for them in the world!

McEvoy Arts’ board of directors—Michael Carabetta, Jason Fish, Jennifer Gonzalez, and Susan Swig—were the backbone of the organization, providing wisdom, guidance, and advocacy to ensure growth and visibility.

I’d like to share a special appreciation for Amber Goldstein and Kevin Moore, talented stewards of the McEvoy Family Collection, for working purposefully with us to bring each exhibition alive in the gallery. Thanks to their ongoing efforts on behalf of the collection as it continues to move and live in the world.

As a small organization, we decided early on to work closely with several exceptionally skilled and creative vendors to build our program. These acknowledgements would not be complete without a shout-out to photographers Henrik Kam and Pat Mazzera, MacFadden & Thorpe Design, City Picture Frame, Martin Sign Company, publicist Wendy Norris, bookkeeper/accountant Susan Hanley, and Minnesota Street Project and its Art Services group for the years of commitment and service to McEvoy Arts.

Finally, and far from least, I add a warm and heartfelt thank you to founder Nion McEvoy, Leslie Berriman, and the entire McEvoy family for their generosity and commitment to the arts and humanities, expressed through McEvoy Arts and in so many other cultural endeavors.

In founding McEvoy Arts, Nion brought a unique vision, drive, and support to make the family collection accessible to everyone. As we move into the future, I’d like to suggest that we all carry his vision of arts access forward in our lives. I know I will. McEvoy Arts is a uniquely memorable and creative opus because of Nion and the McEvoy family.


Susan Miller
McEvoy Arts Executive Director
September 2023

Memories to Light at Fort Point

Thursday, September 28, 2023, 6:30pm
Fort Point National Historic Site, 201 Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129
Free with RSVP

McEvoy Arts is pleased to announce a special screening and live musical performance of Memories to Light at San Francisco’s historic Fort Point for the inaugural evening of Keepers of the Fire, presented and produced by FOR-SITE in partnership with the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

On September 28, McEvoy Arts executive director Susan Miller curates Memories to Light in response to the theme of earth and land as sites of migration. This presentation of Memories to Light features a projected screening of Asian American home movies with a live performance by local musicians Danny Clay, Gabby Wen, and Sophia Shen. Its panoramic juxtaposition of vintage and modern images and sound showcase the warmth and vigor of Asian American lives and stories. The film, directed and edited by Chester Canlas and Antonio Remington with an original score composed by Danny Clay and Theresa Wong, was originally commissioned by the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts and the Center for Asian American Media in conjunction with McEvoy Arts’ 2021 exhibition Next to You. Earlier presentations include those at McEvoy Arts in 2021 and in Chinatown as part of Neon Was Never Brighter in 2022.

Keepers of the Fire is a program of cultural events by five Bay Area curators responding to the five elements: earth, fire, water, air, and ether. These intimate, twilight gatherings bring together artists and public audiences to commune around fire pits for curated films, conversations, and live performances inside the bastions of the Fort. 

Curators for the other elements include Claudia Schmuckli, Curator-in-Charge, Contemporary Art and Programming at Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, fire; Veronica Roberts, John and Jill Freidenrich Director at Cantor Arts Center, water; Frank Smigiel, Director of Arts Programming & Partnerships at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, air; and Cheryl Haines, Executive Director & Chief Curator at FOR-SITE, ether.

“The Good Curator” at FOG 2022, Moderated by McEvoy Arts Executive Director Susan Miller

Friday, January 21, 3pm
Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA

Inspired by Image Gardeners, an exhibition of portrait photography by women and non-binary artists, The Good Curator is a lively conversation about curating today at FOG Design+Art 2022 on Friday, January 21 at 3pm. ⁠McEvoy Arts executive director Susan Miller moderates the panel with Nevada Museum of Art senior curator of contemporary art Apsara DiQuinzio and artist, writer, and curator Leila Weefur, who guest curated New Labor Movements in the McEvoy Arts Screening Room.⁠ Together, the group will discuss film and time-based art forms, feminist art and activism, and muse on the delights and challenges of shaping ideas into public exhibitions and events.⁠

The Good Curator takes place in the FOG Theater at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture. The conversation will also be livestreamed and uploaded to YouTube following the close of the fair. Find more information by clicking here.

McEvoy Arts Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

To our community,

We add our voice to the call for a long-overdue end to racial injustice and inequity and unequivocally affirm that Black Lives Matter. We denounce police brutality and its murderous results. We stand united with all people peacefully organizing to speak the truth about racial violence in all its forms. 

The pervasive suffering experienced by Black people and communities of color, tragically compounded by COVID-19, is unacceptable. Only by facing uncomfortable truths and complicity in a broken system do we honor the lives of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, as well as Bay Area citizens Sean Monterrosa, Mario Woods, Luis Góngora Pat, Jessica Williams, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Alex Nieto, Oscar Grant, and many more. 

We demand accountability and transparency in government, law enforcement, and in all areas of private and public service. When leadership is absent or hostile towards those it represents, it becomes a human rights imperative to organize peacefully and demand change. The current system must be rebuilt with the voices of the underprivileged at the center. 

We in cultural institutions must also undertake the difficult work of resisting racism, systemic oppression, and inequity in all corners of society. McEvoy Arts aims to support culturally diverse artistic projects from all over the world and provide access freely to all communities. We believe in the arts as a powerful and innovative form of expression that shapes people for a lifetime. The staff of McEvoy Arts are listening and engaging in discussions, inside and out, to fortify and amplify our commitment to Black narratives and anti-racist work of Black Americans in our activities. We look forward to sharing developments with you as they unfold.

Clearly, we all have a role and work to do. Please consider getting involved with one or more of these powerful organizations [hyperlink] that support Black lives and voices. Please also register to vote and complete your 2020 Census

In solidarity,

We welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions at info@mcevoyarts.org. Thank you.

Susan Miller
Executive Director

This is an incomplete list of resources with thanks to the Museum of the African Diaspora, Berkeley Arts + Design, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and Artnet for their research.

Updates on McEvoy Arts’ Response to COVID-19

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts prioritizes the health and safety of its visitors. Please read on for the full statement.

Last Updated: July 29, 2020

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts Reopens to the Public on August 5

We’re excited to share that McEvoy Arts will reopen to the public on Wednesday, August 5 with Orlando, on view through September 5. Our staff has been working hard from home to ensure that your visit is safe and enjoyable. We hope that McEvoy Arts can be a welcoming space for exploration as you broaden your social activities.

Below you will find planned changes to our visitor experience to ensure the health and safety of our guests and staff. Visit this page to learn more about updated admissions policies at McEvoy Arts.


Before You Arrive

Stay at home if you are feeling sick. Please do not visit McEvoy Arts if you have a fever or any COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days, or have had close contact with anyone who is confirmed or is suspected of having COVID-19.

During Your Visit

Please wear a face covering. Single-use masks are available at the front desk.

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. If you are part of an immunocompromised high-risk group, are in need of other accommodations, or have additional questions, please contact us at info@mcevoyarts.org or 415-580-7605.

  • Single-use masks are available at the front desk in limited quantities.
  • Signage has been installed to encourage distancing and traffic flow.
  • The front desk cannot accept visitors’ personal items for safekeeping. Large bags, open containers, and food products are not permitted in the galleries.
  • Public restrooms are available to McEvoy Arts’ visitors. Hand sanitation stations are accessible at multiple points throughout the gallery and Minnesota Street Project common spaces.
  • Restrooms, high-touch surfaces, and public spaces are cleaned thoroughly, multiple times a day. Please ask our gallery staff about health & safety policies if you have questions.
  • Wheelchairs, in limited numbers, are available for temporary use during your visit; please notify staff at the front desk.
  • As a contemporary art space, McEvoy Arts offers a low- or no-touch intimate viewing experience with our exhibitions.
  • Guided group tours by appointment are temporarily unavailable.

UPDATE: June 29, 2020

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts is Temporarily Closed

McEvoy Arts plans to reopen to the public when able and in accordance with state and local health guidelines. The exhibitions Orlando and certainty is becoming our nemesis have been extended through September 5, 2020. We look forward to welcoming our visitors back to the gallery and to being able to share our programs in person once more.⁠

McEvoy Arts is taking all necessary precautions in accordance with local and state health requirements to ensure your safe and enjoyable visit. Keep your eye out on our social media, newsletter, and this page for more details in the coming weeks about planning your visit.

For additional information, please consult the California Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, City and County of San Francisco, and the World Health Organization.

UPDATE: MARCH 16, 2020

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts Galleries to Close Temporarily

Following recommendations from the CDC and public health officials to contain the spread of COVID-19, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts’ galleries are temporarily closed until further notice.

Though we firmly believe in art’s ability to inspire hope and solace in uncertain times, we believe this is the most responsible course of action for the safety of McEvoy Arts’ visitors, volunteers, staff, and the community at large. We will continue to monitor the situation in the coming weeks to determine whether the closure will be extended and will update all of our available channels with new information as it becomes available. 

Our dedicated staff continues to work remotely to bring you programs and stories about McEvoy Arts and the themes and ideas embedded in the McEvoy Family Collection. Feel free to engage with us via our website, social media channels, and emails, where we’ll be sharing stories and media about the artists and curators who shape the conversation at McEvoy Arts so you can #MuseumFromHome. We hope our platforms may be a comforting online space for you in the days ahead.

If you have any questions as circumstances continue to develop, please feel free to contact us at info@mcevoyarts.org.

We remain committed to supporting all our guests and employees during this unprecedented time. We ask that all members of our community practice social distancing measures and follow guidelines set forth by health officials. We wish you and your loved ones the best of health during this critical time. Thank you for your continued support.

For additional information, please consult the California Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, City and County of San Francisco, and the World Health Organization.