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Openings: Good News for Gallery Hoppers

Soft Times Gallery

905 Sutter Street, San Francisco |

There’s a new addition to the arts corridor on Sutter Street, with Brent Hayden and Sarah Choe’s Soft Times Gallery joining the likes of Hashimoto Contemporary, Glass Rice, Spoke Art, Vanitas Contemporary and Rebecca Camacho Presents. “Our gallery is designated towards contemporary artworks spanning across various mediums — including painting, mixed media, sculpture and ceramics,” says Hayden, who serves as its curator, while Choe is Soft Times’ director. “We are committed to showcasing emerging contemporary artists, with a focus on local artists.” The gallery officially opened its doors in March, simultaneously launching its inaugural group exhibition and a print publication, Soft Times Quarterly. The latter not only is an “opportunity to highlight more nuance, story and detail,” says Choe, but also offers a tangible asset that is “a way to oppose the digital fatigue we have experienced over the past two years.” Exhibitions change monthly and are on view for three weeks, after which time the artworks are available to peruse and purchase on the Soft Times website, in an online catalog, for six months. In May, Small Works will feature 11-by-14-inch pieces on canvas or wood panel, by more than 40 artists. An opening reception is slated for Thursday, May 5, 6 to 9 p.m., with the show concluding May 28.

Photo courtesy of Jehad Al-saftawi.

Refugee Eye

849 Valencia Street, San Francisco |

In 2016, photojournalists Jehad al-Saftawi and Lara Aburamadan left their home in war-torn Gaza and arrived in the Bay Area seeking asylum. The husband and wife subsequently conceived of a gallery that shares the refugee perspective through visual storytelling. “San Francisco is a known landmark of diversity, and when walking into its streets, you see many of its inhabitants reflect that nature,” says al-Saftawi. “We think Refugee Eye is a conversation starter and another reminder of the welcoming culture of this region and why it’s critical to engage with our different parts of the world.” The nonprofit opened in the McSweeney’s building in March with My Gaza: A City in Photographs, which features works from al-Saftawi’s book of the same name — published by McSweeney’s in 2020 — and is on view through May 8. Next up, from May 10 through June 25, is “a collective visual art show for Ukrainian artists living under the Russian fire now,” says Aburamadan. “It will be a mix between photography, paintings and design; they all carry a message of Ukrainian resilience and their ability to rise in the face of brute aggression.” A new exhibition will debut every six weeks in Refugee Eye’s physical and online galleries, which allow for engagement with artists and audiences near and far.

Photo courtesy of Hope Lundblad.

Haines Gallery

2 Marina Boulevard (Building C), San Francisco |

“After 32 years on Geary Street, it was time for a change,” says gallerist Cheryl Haines. “I felt as though our represented artists had more than thoroughly explored the possibilities of the former gallery space in their exhibitions over time. The challenge of finding and building a new space with its own unique character would be invigorating for them and myself.” In March, Haines’ namesake gallery bowed at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and where her arts nonprofit, For-Site Foundation, is also based. “We are thrilled already by the collaborative possibilities with FMCAC, the access to the park off-site venues and the wonderfully robust sense of community here,” she adds. “Opening the space with a site-specific exhibition by Andy Goldsworthy, on the anniversary of our 30 years of collaboration, has been a gift.” The British artist’s Firehouse show runs through May 28. In what’s intended to be a permanent fixture, Goldsworthy covered a wall in Haines’ new venue with white kaolin clay, which will visually change over time. (More of his work — including the sculptures “Spire” and “Wood Line” — can be viewed in the nearby Presidio.)

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