San Diego

Accessibility Tools

  • Check if your spelling is correct, or try removing filters.
  • Remove quotes around phrases to match each word individually: "blue drop" will match less than blue drop.
  • You can require or exclude terms using + and -: big +blue drop will require a match on blue while big blue -drop will exclude results that contain drop.

On View: Art and Culture Exhibitions

The Library’s exhibition program allows free access to visual art and cultural exhibitions, while promoting San Diego artists and creative community groups.

Library patrons viewing an exhibition in the Central Library Art Gallery.

Central Library Art Gallery

Julius Shulman: Modern San Diego
September 28 – January 19, 2020 | San Diego Central Library Gallery

Black and white house photograph by Julius Shulman

© J. Paul Getty Trust

Recognized for his work in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, it is not widely known that between 1934 and 2007, architectural photographer Julius Shulman (1910 – 2009) shot over 200 projects in San Diego. His clients were architects, publishers, construction companies, and developers, and included notable San Diego architects Lloyd Ruocco, Sim Bruce Richards, Henry Hester, and Frederick Liebhardt. Shulman’s work, spanning several decades, documented the region’s evolving 20th century architectural landscape and he played an instrumental role in sharing California’s unique post-War modernism with a wide audience. Through a large number of publications and exhibitions, focused largely on his work in Palm Springs and Los Angeles for architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Pierre Koenig, Charles Eames, and Richard Neutra, interest in Shulman’s work continues to this day. However, his images of San Diego have not been widely shared or published. This exhibition will present selected photographs from Julius Shulman’s projects in San Diego, represented in both vintage and contemporary prints, and ephemera that contextualize this historically significant work. Curated by Keith York.
Concurrently, at the La Jolla Historical Society: Julius Shulman: Modern La Jolla

Community Exhibitions

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.

La Jolla/Riford

Landscape painting by J. Sewell

Credit: J. Sewell

Impressions of California Plein Air Artists
September 17, 2019 - January 31, 2020
These images by California artists were created in the open air, capturing the landscape’s natural qualities of light and color. Artists include: Tom Balderas, Brian Blood, Patricia Jasper Clark, Rick Delanty, Debra Joy Groesser, Laurie Kersey, Margaret Larlham, Greg LA Rock, Ned Mueller, Michael Obermeyer, Pauline Roche, Jeff Sewell, Bryan Mark Taylor, Toni Williams, Jeff Yeomans.

Mission Hills-Hillcrest

Artwork by Josie Rodriguez

Credit: J. Rodriguez

Collaborating with Nature
January 28 - March 31, 2020
Artist Josie Rodriguez honors the plight of honeybees with works made with encaustic wax in tones of white, gold, and yellow.

Mission Valley

Artwork by A. Carver

Credit: A. Carver

Climate Alliance – Art of change 2020
January 6, 2020 - April 3, 2020

Climate Science Alliance sees the arts as a valuable tool for communicating and disseminating climate science to diverse audiences because it cuts across culture, age, education level, and socioeconomic status. The "Art of Change" traveling art shows bring climate art to our communities, featuring artworks from our Affiliated Artists and local youth in our Climate Kids program.

North Park

Artwork by Leah Schaperow

Credit: L. Schaperow

Leah Schaperow
Until March 10, 2020
Schaperow’s works are inspired by humankind’s struggle to control nature.

Pacific Beach

Whimsical painting of a dog.

Credit: S. Webb

Art for the Common Dog
November 16 - January 24, 2020
Steve Webb paints in a contemporary expressionist style, showcasing both residential landscapes and whimsical views from a dog’s perspective. 

Point Loma/Hervey

Seal waterpainting by Jeanne Ames

Credit: J. Ames

Watercolors by Jeanne Ames
January 4 - March 1, 2020
Reception: Saturday, January 18th, 2020 from 2 - 4 p.m.
Watercolor paintings and Gourd sculptures depicting wild and domestic animals.

Rancho Bernardo

Landscape painting by Lilly Szulc

Credit: L. Szulc

Paintings by Lilly Szulc
January 2 - March 31, 2020
Oil paintings of figures and landscapes come to life in the colorful, expressive brush of Lilly Szulc.

Rancho Peñasquitos

Artwork by Loren Dela Cruz

Credit: L. Dela Cruz

Works by Loren Dela Cruz
January 3 – February 29, 2020
Artist Loren Dela Cruz's work is inspired by graphic design.

Artwork by Girl Scout Troop 3182

Famous Women Engineers & Scientists by Troop 3182
January 6 – February 28, 2020
Girl Scout Troop 3182 in Torrey Highlands hosted a Think Like an Engineer Journey workshop for local Girl Scout Groups (K-5th grade). These artistic creations represent their take action badge and were created to highlight these important female pioneers.

San Carlos

La Jolla shores painting by K. Roberts

Credit: K. Roberts

Ken Roberts
Until Feb. 4, 2019
Reception: Saturday, January 18th, 2020 from noon - 2 p.m.
This artist has been painting scenes of Southern California for more than 35 years, ranging from San Diego’s back country to figures on the beach at La Jolla Shores.

University Community

Ostrich pastel painting by Rochelle

Magic of Pastels
November 9 - January 27, 2020
Created by local students of the San Diego Community College District Older Adult Program, pieces vary from still life to wildlife and anything in between. Artworks showcase students abilities incorporating line, color, shape, and form.

Exhibition Opportunities

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.

Photo Gallery

  • 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.
  • Installation view of Art Forms in Nature at the Rancho Peñasquitos Branch Library Art Forms in Nature, installation view, Rancho Peñasquitos Branch Library; Nature photography by Michael Ready in conjunction with Cabrillo National Monument.
  • Installation view of METALOCI at the Mission Valley Branch Library METALOCI: Points of Transformation, installation view, Mission Valley Branch Library; Exhibition conceived and organized by the Mesa College Museum Studies Program.

Contact Us

For more information about library exhibitions, email us at [email protected].

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.