From inventive theater and dance to legendary music and film festivals, the Bay Area arts community is at the top of its game. But as it's proven again and again, there’s always room to grow.
This spring, institutions like the de Young Museum, SFJazz, and SF Ballet will be pulling out all the stops for a season of innovation and excitement. Don’t miss these upcoming performances and exhibitions in San Francisco, Oakland, and beyond.
Art Exhibitions + Fairs
Sadie Barnette reimagines SF's first Black-owned gay bar in The New Eagle Creek Saloon at SFMOMA beginning April 22nd.
(Courtesy of SF MoMa)
Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence
Explosive artist Kehinde Wiley’s new show, An Archaeology of Silence, opens at the de Young on March 18th. Like his previous work, the exhibition confronts the legacy and ongoing reality of violence against Black bodies, this time through imagery of death and sacrifice. For the first time, Wiley displays bronze sculptures alongside his color-drenched paintings, including some of the largest pieces ever shown in the museum’s galleries. The show will be free to visit on eight different weekends throughout the year, along with workshops, conversations, and collective mournings that pay homage to Black funerary practices.
// March 18 through Oct 15; de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. (Golden Gate Park), famsf.org
Ansel Adams in Our Time
The upcoming Ansel Adams in Our Time traces the famed landscape photographer’s legacy from Yosemite to San Francisco to the American Southwest. The de Young’s exhibition will display more than 100 of his works, along with the photographs of 19th century and contemporary artists like Carleton Watkins and Catherine Opie.// April 8 through July 23; de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. (Golden Gate Park), famsf.org
Art Market San Francisco
The expansive Art Market returns to SF's Fort Mason Festival Pavilion for four days in April. Explore contemporary and modern work from 85 galleries around the world in a vibrant atmosphere in which collectors and the art-curious can connect directly with dealers. In its 11th year, the fair will highlight the region's vibrant arts community with events, talks, performances, and installations curated by creative director Nato Thompson. Art Market's public projects program will also make work from artists like Miguel Calderón, Jeffrey Gibson, and Catalina Ouyang accessible to the city at large.
// April 20-23; Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, 2 Marina Blvd (Marina), artmarketsf.com
Sadie Barnette: "The New Eagle Creek Saloon"
In this innovative installation, Oakland artist Sadie Barnette reimagines SF’s first Black-owned gay bar, a safe space for the multiracial queer community opened by her father in 1990. "The New Eagle Creek Saloon" on the fourth floor of SFMOMA will come to life as a site of celebration and resistance with performances, storytelling, and happy hours for dancing and drinks.
// Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, April 22 through May 11; SFMOMA, 151 3rd St. (SoMa), sfmoma.org
Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art
For centuries, dance has featured heavily in the arts of India, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas. In the multimedia exhibition Beyond Bollywood at the Asian Art Museum, 120 works of sculpture, painting, photography, jewelry, textiles will show the range and power of movement from ancient to modern times. Live dance performances and video installations will also accompany the show, drawing visitors more deeply into the magic of dance.
// Mar 31 through Jul 10; Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St. (Civic Center), asianart.org
Film + Theater
The 66th SF International Film Fest kicks off on April 13th with the new documentary by Peter Nicks, Stephen Curry: Underrated.
(Courtesy of Apple Original Films via SFFilm)
66th San Francisco International Film Festival
SFFilm is back this spring with the 66th San Francisco International Film Festival. The event opens at Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater with the hometown premier of Stephen Curry: Underrated on April 13th, an intimate documentary about the Warrior’s star. Although the rest of the program is still under wraps, the ten day festival will include the work of emerging storytellers, international directors, and Latinx filmmakers.
// April 13-23 at various venues; sffilm.org
Poor Yella Rednecks: Vietgone 2
The “wildly exuberant, unabashedly over-the-top, and gleefully imaginative” Poor Yella Rednecks: Vietgone 2 debuts at ACT’s The Strand Theater on March 30th. The second installment in playwright Qui Nguyen’s hip-hop trilogy about a Vietnamese family that finds refuge in rural 1970s Arkansas is a funny, subversive night of theater—and you don’t need to have seen Nguyen’s first play, Vietgone, to be immediately sucked in.
// Mar 30 through May 7; Strand Theater, 1127 Market St. (SoMa), act-sf.org
English, the Obie Award and Lucille Lortel Award–winning play by Sanaz Toosi, makes its West Coast premiere at the Berkeley Rep on March 31st. The incisive dramedy set in an ESL classroom explores how the voices of four adult students are altered when they supplant their native languages for English.
// Mar 31 through May 7; Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison St. (Berkeley), berkeleyrep.org
This spring Z Space, in collaboration with Word for Word, will present George Saunders’ Home. The play, which revolves around a returning war veteran, calls for understanding and compassion in an increasingly cruel world with all of the absurdity and humor for which the playwright is known.
// April 5-29; Z Space, 450 Florida St. (Mission), zspace.org
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
This May, Oakland Theater Project reimagines Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Written in 1962, the American classic about the dark direction a get together takes after a college faculty party still resonates with the themes of truth and illusion.// May 26 through June 18; 1501 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (Oakland), oaklandtheaterproject.org
Catch legendary singer-songwriter Roseanne Cash at SF Jazz beginning March 29.
(Courtesy of @roseannecash)
Catch legendary singer-songwriter Roseanne Cash in one of four upcoming SFJazz performances. She’ll be playing songs in celebration of the 30th anniversary of her 1993 album The Wheel, along with music from her forthcoming Broadway musical Norma Rae, an adaptation of the 1979 film about a North Carolina labor union.
// March 29 through April 2; SFJazz, 201 Franklin St. (Civic Center), sfjazz.org
Orquesta Aragón: Icono Tour U.S.
Beloved Cuban charanga band Orquesta Aragón returns to the Bay Area with their multi-Grammy Award–winning sound in April. Credited with inspiring New York mambo, the group combines African rhythms with Spanish melodies and violins in two lively performances at the Brava Theatre.
// April 7; Brava Theatre, 2781 24th St. (Mission), brava.org
Cristian Măcelaru Conducts Shostakovich
This three-night event at the SF Symphony doesn’t just feature music by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, it pulls together three compositions by three very different artists. In addition to Shostakovich’s exciting First Symphony, the program includes Wynton Marsalis’ jazz-and-ragtime Blues Symphony and the hypnotic Milky Ways by Outi Tarkiainen. Conductor Cristian Măcelaru takes the helm.// April 21-23; SF Symphony, 201 Van Ness Ave. (Civic Center), sfsymphony.org
Mill Valley Music Festival
Marin’s favorite outdoor arts and culture event is back this May with two days of music, food, and more. The tunes kick off on Saturday with acts like Tank and the Bangas and The Dip, with headliner Michael Franti & Spearhead bringing down the house at night. On Sunday, Cake takes the stage after a full day of tunes by Valerie June, Durand Jones, and others. Single and two-day tickets are available.
// May 13-14; Friends Field, 180 Camino Alto (Mill Valley), millvalleymusicfest.com
Napa’s epic music fest brings May to a close with an equally epic line-up. On Friday, Post Malone, The Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Strings, and Bastille are at the top of the ticket followed by Lizzo and Duran Duran on Saturday. Sunday catch the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lil Nas X, the Wu-Tang Clan, The National and a dozen other can’t miss acts. Three day tickets are already sold out but you can still get tickets for individual days—for now.
// May 26-28; Napa Valley Expo, 575 3rd St. (Napa), bottlerocknapavalley.com
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs new and classic works at Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall on April 11-16.
(Courtesy of @alvinailey)
San Francisco Ballet
Spring brings romance to SF Ballet, beginning with Cinderella (March 31 through April 8). Think you know this classic fairy tale? Think again. This modern take ditches the fairy godmother and talking mice in favor of a more stylish, humanistic story about a hopeful heroine and her noble prince. Later, Romeo & Juliet(April 21-30) will bring Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers to life through passionate dancing, spine-tingling swordsmanship, and stunning set and costume designs.
// SF Ballet at War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave. (Civic Center), sfballet.org
ODC/Dance: Dance Downtown
At the end of the month, ODC/Dance returns to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for five nights of performances. On March 29-30 and April 2nd, the program will feature choreography by Dexandro Montalvo and ODC artistic director Brenda Way, including the world premiere of Collision, Collapse and a Coda. On March 30th and April 1st, they’ll showcase three different pieces, including the world premiere of Witness by choreographer Amy Seiwert. Meet the dancers and more at the Dance Downtown Gala on March 31.
// March 29 through April 2; Blue Shield of California Theater at YBCA, 700 Howard St. (SoMa), odc.dance
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
The exceptional Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall with three different programs this April. Each will feature new works by contemporary choreographers like Jamar Roberts, the company’s current leader Robert Battle, as well as classic Ailey performances like Cry from 1971.
// April 11-16; 101 Zellerbach Hall #4800 (Berkeley), calperformances.org
A Sneak Peek of 'Cinderella' at SF Ballet
Thank you to our partners at San Francisco Ballet.