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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

Methods for Reaching Extreme Altitudes
May 26 – Sept. 16, 2018 | San Diego Central Library Gallery

Methods for Reaching Extreme Altitudes exhibit graphic

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.

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.

Allied Gardens/Benjamin

Latex flowers hand-made and arranged by craftswoman Porntipa Chatchupong.

Credit: P. Chatchupong

For Real?
March 1 - May 31, 2018
Latex flowers hand-made and arranged by craftswoman Porntipa Chatchupong.

Carmel Valley

Colorful coastal painting

Coastal Artists
May 2 - June 30, 2018
Paintings, 3-dimensional works and jewelry.

Central Library - Popular Library

Photo of various baseball magazines.


Batter up!
March 11 - May 21, 2018
Notable items from the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center, housed on the Library’s 8th floor.  The Center is the largest baseball research collection outside of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

La Jolla/Riford

Floral painting by Anne Swan Moore.

Credit: A. Swan Moore

The Colors of Spring
March 11 - May 21, 2018
Contemporary works by Erin Hanson, Lyn Hiner and Anne Swan Moore.

Logan Heights

Photo of the Here, There, and Everywhere exhibit at the Logan Heights Library


Here, There, and Everywhere
March 7 - May 8, 2018
Here, There, and Everywhere (HTE) is a NASA-funded program that consists of a series of exhibitions, posters, and supporting hands-on activities that utilize analogies in the teaching of science, engineering, and technology (STEM) to provide multi-generational and family-friendly content in both English and Spanish.

Mission Valley

Sun and ocean artwork by A. Carver and others.

Credit: A. Carver and others

The Art of Change
April 3 - May 25, 2018
Climate-inspired artwork by local children, artists, and community members.

Tiger sculpture by L. Ganih.

Credit: L. Ganih

Carousel Animals
April 2 - May 31, 2018
Bright colors and a sense of merriment characterize these works by children from Holy Trinity Elementary School.

Point Loma/Hervey

Print of fish by B Schoner

Credit: B. Schoner

Midway Printmakers
March 5 - June 2, 2018
Examples of a variety of printmaking techniques, created by members of a group rooted in a continuing education class at the San Diego Community Colleges.

Rancho Bernardo

Colorful paintings by Joyce Bruun

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.

Photo of panels in the AstrOlympics exhibition at the Rancho Bernardo Library


March 7 - May 8, 2018
A project from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory Communications group highlights the physical connections between sport and space. Examining various topics including speed, distance, time, mass, rotation, and pressure, AstrOlympics explores the impressive range of these different physical properties.

Rancho Penasquitos


Circular painting of animals by A. Carver

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.

San Carlos

Woodpecker photo by G. Tietje

Credit: G. Tietje

Gerry Tietje
May 8 - 31, 2018
Photos taken mostly in San Diego County and national parks in the Southwest, along with other works.

Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa

See Life logo

See Life
May 9 - June 28, 2018
Photos of ocean life, close-up and in color, on loan from the Cabrillo National Monument.

University Community

Brush painting of two herons

Chinese Brush Painting Society
April 28 - June 28, 201
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.

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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