Press Release

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts Announces Closure

McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, No Time (2018). Installation photography by Henrik Kam.

March 17, 2023, San Francisco, CA – McEvoy Foundation for the Arts (McEvoy Arts) announced today it will be closing following the summer exhibition, What are words worth?, on view June 16 – September 2, 2023.

McEvoy Arts was launched in 2017 to share artworks from the McEvoy Family Collection with the public and encourage visitors to explore contemporary art and culture. Over the past five years, McEvoy Arts has presented dozens of free exhibitions, films, and events built from the themes found in the collection.

Since its inception, McEvoy Arts has been the premiere venue for numerous original exhibitions, beginning with la mère la mer (2017), a whimsical survey that accentuated connections across works about mothers and the sea. Other notable programs include Isaac Julien’s Lessons of the Hour (2020-21), a powerful multimedia exhibition on the life of Frederick Douglass; Orlando (2019), 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.

“It’s been a privilege to have a platform to accomplish what we set out to do,” stated Jason Fish, Board President, McEvoy Arts. “We created a welcoming space for the celebration of art and culture and promoted the value of access to the arts for all.”

McEvoy Arts has invited regional, national, and international artists and curators to create new programming to accompany the collection holdings. Guest video curator Steve Seid organized the screening of The Dilexi Series, the 1960s groundbreaking television experiment that allowed filmmakers and performers to broadcast their work to the public. Musicians and composers Theresa Wong and Danny Clay were commissioned to author an original score for Memories to Light, a film collage of Asian American life co-produced by the Center for Asian American Media and McEvoy Arts. Artists Sadie Barnette, Angela Hennessy, Clare Rojas, and Zio Ziegler created new works for the McEvoy Arts anniversary exhibition, Color Code. These and other guests have brought new perspectives to amplify exhibition themes.

Additionally, McEvoy Arts has modeled collaborative partnerships by co-producing many events and exhibitions with peer institutions. Partners have included Aperture, Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy, CounterPulse, the Exploratorium, Film Quarterly, Kronos Performing Arts Association, Minnesota Street Project, Noise Pop, Now Hunters Point, The Roxie Theater, San Francisco Cinematheque, the San Francisco Public Library, Tiny Dance Film Festival, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and the Watsonville Film Festival, among other leading public-serving institutions.

Executive Director Susan Miller states, “The programming at McEvoy Arts reflects the far-reaching vision of founder Nion McEvoy. Exhibitions and events leverage the ideas found in the rich holdings of the art collection he built. The imaginative offerings have touched a diverse and curious public.”

The McEvoy family furnished this statement: “It has been exhilarating to have an art space located within the dynamic gallery scene at Minnesota Street Project. Under Susan Miller’s direction, staff curators and guest curators have created innovative shows with lasting impact. The closing of the space and the foundation represents a pragmatic business decision after more than five years of providing philanthropic support. Although we will no longer have the physical space for curated shows, the art collection will remain with the McEvoy family and works from it will travel, as before, to select exhibitions.”

Rituals of Devotion (March 10 – May 27, 2023) celebrates profound acts of spirituality and love. The assembly of sculpture, painting, and photography, culled from the McEvoy Family Collection and elsewhere, illustrates the bridges that bond us to the otherworldly realm and each other. What are words worth? (June 16 – September 2, 2023) brings into view the collection’s expansive holdings of artworks about text, language, journalism, literature, and poetry.