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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

Fear No Art: Civic Engagement, Histories, Currencies
February 15 – May 17, 2020 | San Diego Central Library Gallery

Fear No Art work

© City of San Diego Civic Art Collection

Fear No Art: Civic Engagement, Histories, Currencies, invites the public to consider artworks in the City of San Diego’s Civic Art Collection and the narratives that emerge when in dialogue with local contemporary artists. Together, these artworks represent a wide range of themes and approaches, which act as a provocation for the viewer to consider concepts such as institutional critique, the ability of art to effectively speak to and for the masses, the specificity of the Civic Art Collection, and the notion of a collection, itself.
Fear No Art is curated by Dr. Lara Bullock and features work by Eric Blau, Donald Borthwick, Mildred Bryant Brooks, Celeste Byers, Collective Magpie, Jung Ho Grant, William Hogarth, Robert Kelly, Leslie William Lee, Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney, John Parot, Cat Chiu Phillips, Charles Reiffel, Zoya Sardashti, Jean Swiggett, Terry Turrell, Jerry O. Wilkerson, and Joe Yorty.

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

Abstract painting by Krista Schumacher

Credit: K. Schumacher

Connected: Two Artists, Two Coasts
Feb. 6 – April 22, 2020
Reception: Sunday Feb. 23, 2 – 4 pm
Krista Schumacher lives and works in La Jolla, Katy Schumacher in Florida. The 30 works in this exhibit range from representational florals to abstract landscapes, and many capture coastal themes.

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

View from a Mountain by by Brian Miller and Timothy Mountain

Credit: T. Mountain/B. Miller

View from a Mountain
Feb. 1 – Mar. 20, 2020
Still life, landscape and abstract photographs by Brian Miller and Timothy Mountain.

Point Loma/Hervey

Seal waterpainting by Jeanne Ames

Credit: J. Ames

Watercolors by Jeanne Ames
January 4 - March 1, 2020
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.

Dinosaur artwork by Claire

Credit: Claire, age 5

Drawn 2 Art
Feb. 4 – April 7, 2020
Examples of student work from a private studio that teaches the fundamentals of drawing and painting.

San Carlos

Painting by Aniko Makranczy

Credit: A. Makranczy

Aniko Makranczy
Feb. 5 – March 3, 2020
Color and line are intrinsic elements in these bright abstracts. The artist strives for a sense of relationship between elements to create balance and tell a story.

Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa

Leopard artwork

Radical Inclusion
Jan. 31 – Feb. 29, 2020

Collaborative artwork by six young artists with autism and six professional artists. The exhibit’s organizer says, “Collaborating on a shared passion-whether it is art, music, or baking––brings out our best selves.”

University Community

Mandalas and works of abstract realism in oil on canvas by Brian McKnight

Credit: B. McKnight

Brian McKnight
Feb. 1 – March 20, 2020
Mandalas and works of abstract realism in oil on canvas.

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].

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