Open Studios at the Hunters Point Shipyard in October

Afatasi-the-Artist-1400x933, Open Studios at the Hunters Point Shipyard in October, Culture Currents
Afatasi the Artist, an Afro-Polynesian artist born and raised in Bayview Hunters Point and working out of the studios at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, recently created an extensive mixed-media project titled “BLACK SPACE,” “an ever-evolving Afro-futuristic approach to the exploration of the vastness of the global Black experience – from the cosmic to the quark – and every intersection in between.”

The Shipyard Open Studios run Oct. 23-24, 2021, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The Shipyard Artists Exhibition Reception is Oct. 7, 2021, 6-9 p.m.

The country’s largest artist community opens its doors to the public this fall for a weekend of open studios, highlighting the work of the hundreds of diverse artists who call the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard their creative home.

San Francisco’s historic Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is the unique home of the country’s largest artist community, with studios for over 300 artists. For more than 30 years, generations of art makers have painted, welded and worked within the impressive industrial buildings of the old Shipyard, where colossal, decommissioned cranes rise dramatically along the shore of the San Francisco Bay. 

Threatened multiple times with eviction through the decades, the Hunters Point Shipyard Artists have managed, through vigorous protest and organizing to gain recognition as a centerpiece of the Shipyard’s current redevelopment and to ensure their community survives and thrives. Today, through the equity efforts of the nonprofit Shipyard Trust for the Arts (STAR), this artist collective represents an increasingly diverse array of BIPOC artists, including a growing number who were born and raised in neighboring Bayview Hunters Point.

Now, the Hunters Point Shipyard Artists offer the public an opportunity to explore this singular creative community in one fell swoop this fall during its Shipyard Open Studios, connecting with over one hundred art makers in their spaces and supporting them directly with purchases of their work. 

Open Saturday, Oct. 23, and Sunday, Oct. 24, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., this is a rare chance for visitors to visit the Shipyard, which is only open to the public twice a year for artist events. The public is invited to drop in anytime over the weekend free of charge to enjoy this lively gathering of artists in their studios, located within six adjacent Shipyard buildings. Local food vendors and musical entertainment are planned as well. Parking is plentiful.

BLACK-SPACE-afro-futurism-art-by-Afatasi-the-Artist-1400x1050, Open Studios at the Hunters Point Shipyard in October, Culture Currents
Afatasi the Artist’s work “BLACK SPACE” “ties past histories which shaped current realities in order to think of a future possible for folks of ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery) lineage in San Francisco.” – Photo: Jean Melesaine

Shipyard Open Studios is also accompanied by a special Shipyard Artists Exhibition that will be celebrated with a festive viewing event and artists reception Oct. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the newly renovated Bayview Opera House. The free evening reception offers the public a chance to see examples of work by a majority of the artists participating in the Shipyard Open Studios all in one place, to meet and mingle with many of the makers and enjoy refreshments at the outdoor bar and live entertainment. 

Free reservations for the reception can be made at The exhibition will be on view at the Bayview Opera House Sep. 30 to Oct. 31, 2021, and can be viewed at other times with prior arrangement by contacting STAR.

Here’s a chance for art lovers to support and connect with local artists directly.

For those who prefer to browse and purchase artwork virtually, the Hunters Point Shipyard Artists’ website will host virtual stores in October.

“We are so thrilled to welcome the public to the Shipyard in person this fall,” says Barbara Ockel, president and CEO of STAR. “The pandemic has been a blow to artists everywhere as opportunities to show work and engage with the public were all curtailed. 

“Open Studios is a wonderful chance for art lovers to support and connect with local artists directly during these challenging times and to discover something new in the process, from our unique location to the creative voices of the many BIPOC and neighborhood artists who are now part of our collective.” 

Since 1995, STAR has actively worked to create connections to the neighboring Bayview Hunters Point community through Shipyard artist-led programs for children, youth and adults, as well as a robust artist-in-residence program that provides 18 months of studio space to artists from the community. Many of these artists have subsequently secured permanent studios at the Shipyard and will be participating in Open Studios this fall.

Malik-Seneferu-and-his-art, Open Studios at the Hunters Point Shipyard in October, Culture Currents
Malik is a self-taught and extremely prolific African-American artist born and raised in Bayview Hunters Point and based out of the Shipyard art studios. He has created more than 1,000 different pieces of artwork, including paintings, murals and mixed media projects in the past 25 years. While growing up out here in the 1970s and ‘80s, Malik saw his peers going to jail and getting killed. Living a life of crime did not appeal to him, so he chose to follow his dreams and began creating art. His interest in art became a pursuit for spiritual, mental and physical elevation. 

These include award-winning painter, draughtsman, muralist, sculptor and illustrator Malik Seneferu, who was STAR’s very first artist-in-residence and whose work has now shown globally, from New York to South Africa. 

“The Shipyard has been a great addition to my career from its early stages,” says Seneferu. “I was 19 when I became the first artist to receive the residency, and I am extremely proud to be able to say that I now have a studio in my native community, where I share my creative experience with my neighbors and society at large.”

Soul-Return-sculpture-art-by-Malik-Seneferu, Open Studios at the Hunters Point Shipyard in October, Culture Currents
“Soul Return” by Malik Seneferu

Other participating residency artists include self-taught painter and muralist Ira Watkins and two current artists-in-residence: artist and animator Ahmad Walker and wood carver and sculptor Hasseem Abdallah. Noted Nigeria-born painter Nina Fabunmi and mixed-media conceptual artist Afatasi the Artist also plan to participate in the open studios, among many others.

Shipyard Open Studios is open for free, drop-in visits Oct. 23 and 24, 2021, from 11a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard at 451 Galvez Ave. in San Francisco. The Shipyard Artists Exhibition viewing party and artists reception takes place Oct. 7, 2021, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Bayview Opera House, 4705 Third St. and is free with advance registration. Reservations and more information at Masks are required, and other COVID-19 protocols will be in place for visitor safety.

About the Shipyard Trust for the Arts

Shipyard-Artists-Exhibition-Reception-100721-1-1400x733, Open Studios at the Hunters Point Shipyard in October, Culture Currents

The Shipyard Trust for the Arts (STAR) is the nonprofit organization of the Hunters Point Shipyard Artists, a studio community of more than 300 working artists and musicians in the historic naval shipyard in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco that also includes the nearby Islais Creek Studios and Eclectic Cookery. It is the largest artist community in the U.S.

Shipyard-Open-Studios-flyer-102321-1400x733, Open Studios at the Hunters Point Shipyard in October, Culture Currents

STAR engages with the community through artist-led education programs for children, youth and adults and artist-in-residence opportunities. The organization also advocates for Hunters Point Shipyard Artists regarding land management and maintenance with government agencies and developers. STAR is currently working to ensure that Shipyard developer Five Point addresses a construction site it has neglected for three years that impacts access to the Shipyard studios.