Wendi Norris, owner of the gallery of the same name. (Photo by Steven Brandsetter)

11 Most Influential Women in the San Francisco Art World

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This is a woman's world.

Well, maybe not yet. But if the pussy-hat-wearers and #metoo whistleblowers and #timesup advocates and Hollywood starlets and badass female chefs have anything to say about it (and you know they do!), it will be soon. But did you know that the art world is already at the cutting edge?


According to a study by The National Center for Arts Research, women are already conquering the art world. Ladies have leading roles at 48 percent of American museums, and 54 percent of our small and midsize galleries are female-owned. In fact, some of the country's most prestigious art institutions are directed by women—including Lisa Phillips, of New Museum in New York; Anne Pasternak, of Brooklyn Museum, and Martha Tedeschi, of Harvard Art Museums—who pioneer innovative new programs and promote up-and-coming artists and burgeoning communities.

The Bay Area, unsurprisingly, is in step with this revolution, with fearless women of power at every major museum and dominating our gallery scene. Meet the local ladies who are changing the rules and shaping a supportive environment to bolster both local artists and our city's reputation as an international leader in art.

(Courtesy of Deborah Rappaport)

Deborah Rappaport, cofounder of Minnesota Street Project

The starting point. "When I was a little girl, my grandmother, who lived in New York City, brought me to museums and galleries and gave me my introduction to art and how to look at it. I have been passionate about art ever since."

In process. "I am working on bringing more public programming to Minnesota Street Project, and on some ideas to bring more art to more people."

The Bay Area can do better. "I would love to see easier access to the museums and other cultural institutions in San Francisco. The city could support access to nonprofit organizations, like museums, through a variety of methods. This is a successful strategy in other cities, and it would be great to see San Francisco come up with a creative solution."

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