Sausalito Art Festival Foundation

  • CA

About Us

About the Sausalito Art Festival Foundation and the Sausalito Art Festival

The annual Sausalito Arts Festival is produced by The Sausalito Art Festival Foundation, a non-profit cultural and fine arts organization. The mission of the Sausalito Art Festival Foundation is to encourage, promote, and support the arts for the community. All proceeds from the annual Festival support Bay Area arts and community non-profits through grants, artist awards, and scholarships.

Over one million visitors from throughout the world have attended the Sausalito Art Festival since its inaugural event in 1952. Sausalito has been the focal point for artists for close to 200 years. Weekend painters first arrived by sailboat from San Francisco in the early 1800's to capture scenes of tall ships and nature against the majestic backdrop of the bay.

Sausalito was a major shipbuilding site during World War II. Workers came by the thousands to build the famed Liberty Ships on Sausalito's northern waterfront. At the end of the war, the idle waterfront became a magnet for poets, writers, artists, and film makers from throughout the world.

The rustic waterfront and growing houseboat colony all helped create a popular haven for a bustling artists' community. The growing camaraderie among native-born and newcomer artists created the foundation for the Festival. Sausalito artists staged their first festival on Shell Beach, September 6, 1952, in conjunction with a salmon festival and regatta. Shell Beach is now the site of the world famous Spinnaker Restaurant.

The Sausalito Art Festival is one of the first juried fine art festivals in the nation and in the 1970's, cash awards were instituted.

Its current location at Marinship Park, next to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -Bay Model Visitor Center, was built and paid for by the Art Festival, the Rotary Club and several other non-profits and volunteers with donated money and labor in 1988 as a permanent home for the Festival. The new site allowed for direct ferry service, a shuttle system, more artists, entertainers, and higher attendance.

Under the Chamber's stewardship, the Festival has seen its greatest growth, gained national recognition as the #1 Outdoor Fine Art Festival in America, and has earned an international standing for excellence in the arts. It is now considered one of the "best" and "most prestigious" fine art festivals in the United States by both artists and collectors worldwide.

The Festival is a nonprofit fund raising Event that has benefited every civic and nonprofit organization in Sausalito with over 1,000 volunteers and over 270 of the nation's top juried Artists. It is produced by a dedicated group of artists and community volunteers. It The Sausalito continues its long-standing mission of supporting the arts and community nonprofit organizations through grant programs, artist awards, scholarships, and the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce Community Service Programs. Through this support, the Festival makes a significant investment in the future of its community, totaling over $500,000 in recent years.