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
Julius Shulman: Modern San Diego
September 28 – January 19, 2020 | San Diego Central Library Gallery
© 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
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.
Credit: F. Hanson
Paintings by Fani Hason
Oct. 14, 2019 – Nov. 30, 2019
Artist reception on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 from 6:00 - 7:45 p.m.
Central Library - Popular Library
Credit: Donna Binder
Surviving & Thriving: AIDS, Politics and Culture
Sept. 16 - Oct. 26, 2019
This exhibit from the National Library of Medicine explores the rise of AIDS in the early 1980s and the evolving response to the epidemic over the last 30 years. Educational brochures from the NLM are also available. In conjunction with the 2019 One Book, One San Diego pick for adults, "The Great Believers" by Rebecca Makkai.
Central Library - Special Collections
Bookplates: The Art of Ex Libris
For the first time in more than 30 years, a sampling of the library's 6,000+ bookplates are on display. Bookplates, placed in the front cover of a book to indicate ownership, have been recognized as a minor branch of fine art.
Credit: J. Sewell
Impressions of California Plein Air Artists
Sept. 17, 2019 – Jan. 11, 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.
Credit: J. Green, et al.
The Art of Change
Sept 30, 2019 – January 6, 2020
Climate-inspired artwork by local children, artists, and community members. This exhibition comes courtesy of the Climate Science Alliance.
Credit: M. Ramanathan
Teapots and Coffee Mugs
Aug. 10 – Oct. 19, 2019
Paper Collages with hand embroidery by Meera Ramanathan.
Credit: A. Pommier
Anne Pommier: Paintings and Mosaics
Aug. 26 - Oct. 31, 2019
Some of these oil paintings contain glued or sewn items such as glass beads, shells and pieces of wood, metal or tile, which add dimension to the painting and are always related to the meaning of the work.
Credit: C. Coverley
Exploring Glass XLV
Sept. 5 - Nov. 30, 2019
Reception | Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019 | 2 – 4 p.m.
Glass, sculpture and photography by Cathy Coverley. The exhibit features glass plates that illustrate the elements of earth, air, fire and water as they appear in nature.
Credit: P. Patapow, N. Hines
Things We Love
Oct. 1 - Dec. 31, 2019
An exhibit of favorite landscapes, seascapes, pets and people by local artists, Doris Bertch and Lois Goodman.
Credit: J. Colby
Oct. 7 – 31, 2019
Pen-and-ink drawings. “The subject matter is always a surprise; inhabitants of the subconscious mind come out to be seen.” - Janetmarie Colby
Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa
Credit: . Bruce
Associated Fine Artists
Aug. 28 - Oct. 30, 2019
These artists create works in oils, watercolor, pencil, pastel and mixed media. Part of their mission is to promote interest in art throughout the community.
Credit: L. Caveney
Sep. 10 – Oct. 21, 2019
Caveney is a former factory worker who seeks new perspectives through his audience, including his fellow laborers. These paintings use familiar imagery and analogous color schemes to reveal less-obvious truths.
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.