The Library’s exhibition program allows free access to visual art and cultural exhibitions, while promoting San Diego artists and creative community groups.
Central Library Art Gallery
A Method for Reaching Extreme Altitudes
May 26 – Sept. 16, 2018 | San Diego Central Library Gallery
Featuring the work of eight San Diego artists exploring space art, ranging from scientific to science fiction and otherworldly curiosities. Artists Adam Belt, Matthew Bradley, Sheena Rae Dowling, Andrew McGranahan, Arzu Ozkal, Cheryl Sorg, Jones von Jonestein, and Melissa Walter traverse the outermost reaches of space through diverse mediums and concepts. Their creativity, paired with their search for knowledge, exemplifies the human desire to understand the world and universe we live in. Open to all, admission free.
With 35 branch libraries in communities throughout the city, the San Diego Public Library has many great spaces to showcase educational, cultural, intellectual, charitable and recreational exhibits, as well as works by community art groups and individuals.
May 2 - June 30, 2018
Paintings, 3-dimensional works and jewelry.
Central Library - Popular Library
June 4 – July 14, 2018
During the late 20th century, medical nurses recognized the harm of domestic violence and sought to improve the lives of women who were battered. This traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine tells the story.
Credit: S. Bruce
Coming Soon: Associated Fine Artists
June 29 – Aug. 31, 2018
A collection of works from a small group of artists who use media ranging from oil, acrylic, watercolor and pen and ink, to encaustic and collage.
Credit: D. Peterson
Plein Air Painter’s Meetup
June 3 – Sept. 1, 2018
Members of this organization meet in small groups to paint and sketch at specific locations in our region. Reception Saturday July 14, 12:30-3:00 p.m. includes a classical recital by pianist Jackie Oliver.
Credit: J. Bowersox/J. Brun
Impressions of Nature
April 2 - June 30, 2018
Nature is celebrated in the sensitive imprints by Jan Bowersox, and the colorful impressions by Joyce Bruun.
Credit: A. Carver
Along the Transect Line
March 7 - Aug. 31, 2018
Scientists use “transect lines” across a habitat to help them watch for change in plant and animal life. This exhibit blends art and science to show what’s seen Along the Transect Line at Cabrillo National Monument.
Credit: R. Benjamin
June 5 – July 5, 2018
A student of Oriental Sumi-e painting, Ruth has recently been experimenting with watercolor techniques. Her paintings illustrate the natural beauty of aquatic birds, mammals and fish as well as botanical and landscape scenes. Reception Saturday, June 16, noon-2 p.m.
Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa
May 9 - June 28, 2018
Photos of ocean life, close-up and in color, on loan from the Cabrillo National Monument.
Chinese Brush Painting Society
Work by students of Jean Shen, who has taught the art of Chinese brush painting and calligraphy in San Diego for more than 30 years.
SDPL is pleased to have hosted exhibitions and displays by groups such as West Coast Drawing, San Diego Mesa College Museum Studies Program, the Museum of Photographic Arts’ Education Department, the Pastel Society of San Diego, High Tech High, Veterans Art Project, San Diego Watercolor Society, the Art Glass Association of Southern California, Words Alive, and various individuals artists and craftsmen.
Exhibit Space is made available on equitable basis regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use. The Library endeavors to present a broad spectrum of opinion and viewpoints. The Library does not accept responsibility for ensuring that all points of view are represented in any single exhibit.
To initiate use of Exhibit Space; Library staff must receive a completed online application from the party requesting the exhibit.
Online Application to Exhibit
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you choose what to exhibit in the library?
All potential use of Exhibit Space shall be evaluated by criteria, which may include, but are not limited to:
- Public Safety: The exhibit must not pose hazards or threats to public safety or public health and/or must not pose a potential liability for the City of San Diego in any other way.
- Availability of Resources: The availability of Exhibit Space and necessary Library staff support. Preference will be given to exhibits that do not require an excessive outlay of City of San Diego resources.
- Excellence: The level of exhibit quality and conceptual content.
- Security: The nature of the proposed security measures for the exhibit.
- Relationship to Exhibit Space: The scale and nature of the exhibit in connection with environmental, physical, and/or functional contexts, both existing and planned.
- Content Considerations: Exhibit content should be appropriate in material, form and content for the library environment. In general, the Library does not accept exhibits of a purely commercial nature, unless they have a special educational, informational, or cultural value to the community. Materials advocating a particular vote on a candidate or ballot proposition may not be exhibited.
- Associated Programming: Exhibitors are encouraged to participate in a lecture or demonstration during the show. Evaluation will consider willingness to prepare creative associated programming. Associated programming will be arranged in consultation with the Branch Manager.
- Priority: Organizations and individuals based in San Diego or serving primarily San Diego residents, which have not used Exhibit Space within the past year, will be given priority.
How can I exhibit at the Central Library?
Programming for the gallery at Central Library is curated and we are not accepting unsolicited applications. There are limited opportunities to display in cases throughout the library, in the Teen Center, or in the Popular Library on the ground floor. Please contact us with a letter of interest to determine if these spaces are appropriate for your needs.
- First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, installation view; On tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC and co-hosted with The Old Globe.
- The Art of Comic-Con, installation view, Central Library; A collaboration with Comic-Con International.
- Intersecting lines: The Tenth Invitational Drawing Show, installation view of Underneath by May-ling Martinez.
- Rainmaker, installation view.
- Art Forms in Nature, installation view, Rancho Peñasquitos Branch Library; Nature photography by Michael Ready in conjunction with Cabrillo National Monument.
- METALOCI: Points of Transformation, installation view, Mission Valley Branch Library; Exhibition conceived and organized by the Mesa College Museum Studies Program.