Rhea Mahbubani

Opening Day at Revamped San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Attracts Large Crowd

After undergoing renovations for three years, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art reopened to the public amid fanfare, bobbing balloons and a flurry of red confetti Saturday.

The sold-out event drew large crowds comprising Bay Area residents and art lovers as well as dignitaries, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The celebration kicked off with performances by the SFJAZZ High School All Stars, the San Francisco Youth Ballet Ribbon Dancers, We Talk Chalk, the Golden State Warriors Aftershock Drumline and more. Officials pressed a large red SFMOMA button, which brought matching confetti raining down from the roofs of the museum and nearby buildings, to mark opening day.

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, and SFMOMA's Board Chairman Charles Schwab and Board President Bob Fisher were among those who spoke at the opening ceremony.

"After years of planning and construction, it feels terrific to welcome visitors back to the museum," Neal Benezra, the museum's Helen and Charles Schwab director, said in a statement.

Lee echoed the same sentiment.

"San Francisco is a city of big ideas, and SFMOMA is a really big idea — and now, a big reality," he said.

Designed by architecture firm Snøhetta, the revamped SFMOMA offers free access to ground-floor galleries, free admission for visitors 18 years old and younger, and 45,000 square feet of free public space, the statement said.

New features include a 10-story expansion to the original building, which was designed by Mario Botta, and is located at 151 Third Street. The SFMOMA also boasts three times more gallery space, 19 inaugural exhibitions, and 170,000 square feet of new and revamped indoor and outdoor galleries.

Highlights include 260 curated selections from the renowned Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, more than 600 works promised through the museum’s Campaign for Art, and new pieces courtesy of hundreds of donors as well as the New Pritzker Center for Photography Inaugurate Museum, the statement noted.

"The new SFMOMA is a manifestation of our city's deep respect for creativity, and it embodies the spirit and the generosity of the entire Bay Area community," Pelosi said. "For that, we are very proud, and very thankful indeed."

Opening Day at Revamped San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

All 5,000 free timed tickets distributed by museum officials were snatched up, but neighboring cultural institutions, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Children's Creativity Museum joined in the fun by offering free admission and programs Saturday.

Howard Street was closed due to the festivities. 

Visit sfmoma.org or call (415) 357-4000 for more information.

Contact Us