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April 11, 2022
Photo by Kevin Berne

Outstanding San Francisco Concerts, Exhibits, and Festivals to Start 2022

Wintertime blues got you down? We’ve got just the thing to lift your spirits: a jam-packed calendar of the cultural events that San Francisco’s flourishing arts scene has to offer.

From film screenings to exciting new exhibitions, breathtaking live performances to uproarious festivals, these are our top picks to keep you busy until summer.

As always, schedules and protocols may change, so be sure to confirm details ahead of time. 

Start planning your next visit to San Francisco. The arts are open and waiting for you!

Art & Experiences

Living with Scents at the Museum of Craft and Design

We know that our sense of smell deeply (and sometimes unknowingly) shapes how we experience the world around us. But do we understand how to use scents in design? This exhibition features the work of nearly 40 designers and artists from all over the world whose work focuses on all things olfactory. Buy Tickets. Through June 5.

"David Huffman: Terra Incognita" at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)

The first museum show surveying the artist’s "Traumanaut" series, "Terra Incognita" showcases the extensive narrative that Huffman has been designing since the early 1990s across a range of media, including large-scale canvas, works on paper, ceramics, video, and printmaking. This work explores an Afrofuturistic landscape. Buy Tickets. On display through Aug. 21.

Interior Garden at The Chinese Cultural Center

The Chinese Cultural Center continues its decade-long XianRui series featuring “pioneering yet under-recognized artists of Chinese descent” with an exhibition by Cathy Lu. Catch Lu’s large-scale ceramic installations through the end of the year. Free, but appointments are recommended. On display through Dec. 17. 

Edith Heath: A Life in Clay at Oakland Museum of California

Learn more about the woman behind everyone’s favorite ceramics studio when OMCA presents “Edith Heath: A Life in Clay”. The exhibition promises to deliver a combination of Heath’s legendary pieces, as well as personal memorabilia, photos, video, and much more. Exhibition included with admission. Through Oct. 30.

Roving with Perseverance at The Exploratorium

Is there life on Mars? We may soon know for sure thanks to NASA’s roving explorer named Perseverance. Check out a life-sized model of the Mars rover on loan from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Buy tickets. Through May 1.

Alice Neel: People Come First at The de Young Museum

Don’t miss the most robust retrospective of Alice Neel’s work to ever hit the west coast. Neel is legendary for her portrayals of fascinating folks that she’d encountered throughout her storied life. Learn more about Neel, her work, and her subject via paintings, watercolors, sketches, and film. Tickets on sale soon. On display through July 10.

The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited at The Contemporary Jewish Museum

Puppeteer Jim Henson was more than an entertainer; he was a trailblazer. Head to the Contemporary Jewish Museum for a look back at the life and work of the man behind The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and much, much more. Tickets on sale soon. On display through Aug. 14.

Shifting the Silence at SFMOMA

SFMOMA’s “Shifting the Silence” brings together 32 women artists from various mediums to explore radical abstract art. The boldly experimental exhibition includes sculpture, photography, video, textile, and more. Tickets on sale soon. On display through Sept. 5.

Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy at The Legion of Honor

The Legion of Honor celebrates China’s first couturier with an incredible collection of more than 80 works by Guo Pei. Get up close to the designer’s fantastical runway looks from the past two decades and marvel at the craftsmanship that is just as exquisite as it is unconventional. Tickets on sale soon. On display Apr. 16 - Sept. 5.

Theatre & Cinema

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at The Curran 

Global phenomenon Harry Potter is back with an all-new adventure created just for the stage. Join your favorite characters for an enchanting performance with all the magic and heart of the legendary books. Buy tickets. Ongoing.

Dear San Francisco at Club Fugazi

Club Fugazi is back in action with a powerful love letter to the City by the Bay. Join a talented cast of world-class acrobats for a heart-pounding spectacle that takes audiences from the Gold Rush to the tech boom in 90 spectacular minutes. Buy tickets. Through Sept. 4. 

Prep Play, or Blue Parachute at New Conservatory Theatre Center

This touching and quirky adventure through time explores the ever-changing face of gay identity and expression. From award-winning playwright Yilong Liu, this contemporary queer fantasia examines the ghosts of our past and the hopes for our future. Buy tickets. Through May 8.

LINES Ballet at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Catch world premiere performances of the critically-acclaimed LINES Ballet when they return to YBCA this spring. Tickets on sale soon. May 13-22. 

Music

BottleRock Napa Valley

This three-day festival of music, food and drink returns to its traditional Memorial Day weekend calendar spot in 2022. The performer lineup includes Pink, Metallica, and Twenty One Pilots. Tickets still available. May 27-29.

Dream of the Red Chamber at San Francisco Opera

Love and politics come to a head when a landmark story is set to music this spring and summer at the San Francisco Opera. “Dream of the Red Chamber” features stunning period costumes, a lively soundtrack, and, of course, a steamy love triangle. Buy tickets. June 14 - July 3.

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