The Tenderloin Museum Artist-in-Residence Program

The Tenderloin Museum Artist-in-Residence Program bridges the history of one of San Francisco's oldest neighborhoods with the culture of today. In collaboration with local artists, the Tenderloin Museum highlights the neighborhood's current status as a creative center of San Francisco. 

With a new exhibition every six to eight weeks, the lobby and Museum Store becomes a gallery for a wide variety of media. We've hosted well-known artists who grew up in the Tenderloin, local artists in recovery, youth exhibitions, and a variety of designers with Tenderloin-themed objects for sale.


Current Artist 

More Than a Roof and Walls: 
Alice Combs and Susa Cortez with their Tenderloin Art Students

March 16 - April 29, 2017

Root Division is proud to present the work of our Studio Artists and students at the Tenderloin Museum this spring. More Than a Roof and Walls features the work of Alice Combs and Susa Cortez alongside the work of their intergenerational students at several of our Tenderloin community partnerships including Kelly Cullen Community, Community Housing Partnership & Larkin Street Youth.

Root Division teaching artists volunteer to teach residents and clients weekly creating meaningful art projects and experiences for populations that are settling into new homes and communities. The classes serve as a creative outlet for the imaginations of students while introducing them to a wide range of materials, projects, and ideas.


Past Artists

Root Division Off-Site Exhibition:
TL Dreams by Rea Lynn de Guzman

January 12 - February 23, 2017
"TL Dreams" echoes the idea of the American dream and explores the difficult yet exciting and hopeful journey of finding oneself. Entangled in a web of changes, cultural confusions, and obstacles while coming of age, it is a recollection of playful and painful memories, transformed into new potential art pieces. 

Rea Lynn de Guzman completed her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. Her work has been exhibited in the Bay Area, Chicago, and even internationally at the Nandalal Gallery in Kolkata, India. A current Root Division Studio Artist, de Guzman teaches in the Youth Education Program at Bessie Carmichael Elementary on Seventh St., and is an active instructor in our Adult Education Program, teaching Mixed Media and Stencil Screen Printing, Check out these upcoming classes, and many others at


Snapping Back.jpg

Snapping Back: Exploring Addiction in the Tenderloin Through Photography and Storytelling

September-October 2016

“Exposure: Photographic Tales from the Tenderloin” is the first gallery show of Snapping Back, a photography project at Tenderloin Health Services. Participating artists in various stages of substance abuse and recovery were given black and white film cameras and encouraged to explore a number of themes over three months of shooting. Their work will be on display in the Tenderloin Museum Store September--October. Don’t miss your chance to meet the artists and enjoy refreshments at the opening Sept 1st. 

Participating Artists: Kevin Fortman, Reggie Davis, Rose Peele, Laura Hayes, Yolanda Morrissette. Curated by Shannon Heuklom and Andy Desruisseau.


Where Art Lives: Youth Art Program

August 2016

Young neighborhood artists have designed street art that would benefit their community. The works reveal what the city will look like when they are in charge. Young artists from three local programs, United Playaz, Boys & Girls Club, and Glide, worked with teaching artists from the Where Art Lives program to develop their own ideas for how to decorate their community. For the month of August the Tenderloin Museum Store showcased the creative visions of these young adolescents.
For several years now, Where Art Lives has connected experienced artists with 4th-6th grade students to teach art skills and discuss the difference between public art and illegal vandalism. This year, participating students will be asked to collectively envision how San Francisco will look when today’s adolescents are running things. What images would they like to see on the walls in their neighborhoods?

Where Art Lives is of the Department of Public Works and the San Francisco Arts Commission to educate youth in San Francisco about issues around graffiti, vandalism, and public art.


Colors of the Tenderloin:                    Photography by Darwin Bell

June-July 2016

As Darwin Bell sees it, San Francisco has always been well known for being a haven for artists, weirdoes and the alternative fringe. Because of this, it has always been a place of immense and constant metamorphosis. As soon as he picked his first camera, Darwin’s mission has been to document his city in all it’s glory and neglect; to record its changes, as to be a reminder of not only where it has been but where it is heading. Since moving to The Tenderloin, he has thrilled at recording the beauty and history of this iconic neighborhood. Even in the most sordid of areas there is beauty to be found and that has always been one of the greatest joys of living in San Francisco. 



Ghost Signs of the Tenderloin:
Photography by Nan M. Castle

May-June 2016

Ghost Signs are old and fading advertisements painted on the walls of buildings. According to Nan, they are remnants of our past, scraps of a long-gone aesthetic fashion, chronicles of commerce and industry in a young and energetic country.  Like the mosaics of Pompeii, they are the living exhibits of our collective urban archaeology. 


Academy of Art, School of Architecture, Student Exhibition

May-June 2016

This exhibit critiques new prototypes for the homeless shelter in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco as a vital, connected part of the evolving San Francisco, and all its inhabitants. Students at the Academy of Art University school of Architecture, through site investigation and a scrutiny of typology, have formulated a critical design stance toward the architectural problem of how to integrate the homeless shelter into the fabric of the new incarnation of San Francisco, making it stigma free and relevant. The exhibition showcases multiple scales, guerilla methods, and collective space, revealing alternate models for a public infrastructure in the city.


Kelly Nicolaisen Photography

March-April 2016

"Kelly Nicolaisen breathes life into still images by exploring everyday scenes through her unique perspective. The vibrant color palette of her portfolio reveals her fun loving personality and humorous outlook on life."

"The photographs of Kelly Nicolaisen speak of her penchant for precise composition and extraordinary sense of color. On a higher plane than traditional photography, the painterly qualities present in her work [are] balanced by an apparent confidence within her creative process.." (

Nicolaisen has been featured in SF Weekly, How Magazine, 7x7 Magazine, Archive Magazine, Stanford Magazine, C Magazine, Living Proof Magazine, Art & Business Magazine, Beautiful Decay, High Fructose Magazine, and others!

Kelly Nicolaisen Photography's website


San Francisco in Ruins Collection

January -February 2016

Jacinto Castillo is an Illustrator and native San Franciscan who is inspired by the city's rich history and beautiful architecture. His whimsical style is a combination of fantasy and reality. The attention to detail along with his playful line work takes you on an adventure back to San Francisco's golden era. 
The San Francisco in Ruins Collection (SFRC) is an ongoing art collection that was created by native San Franciscan, Jacinto Castillo. The Museum Store featured a brand new series of merchandise including exclusive work sold only at the Museum.  
 Jacinto Castillo's website


CoolTry by Ryan De La Hoz

November-December 2015

CoolTry is the tour de force of San Francisco based artist Ryan De La Hoz. In addition to creating his own dynamic works of art, De La Hoz is a faculty member at the Academy of Art University. Prior, he was a teacher at the Potrero Hill-based 4Cats Arts Studio and has been featured in international press, participated in solo exhibitions in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle, as well as group exhibitions in the United States, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Someone on the internet once asked "Is "cool try" a snide remark or a compliment?" My reply is a work in progress: Cool Try is an inside joke. Do you want in? You're in!
Cool Try is a positive state of mind. 

CoolTry's website
Ryan De La Hoz's Website


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