“Art and Politics: An Interview with Angela Davis,” by Dan Augustine, from The Toot, January 16, 1981.

In 1976 Ray Mondini hired activist and writer Angela Davis as a faculty member in what was then called the “World Studies Department.” During her 15-year tenure at SFAI, Davis’ course titles included “The Women’s Movement, Past and Present,” “Women, Music and Social Struggles in the 20th Century,” “Marxism and Art,” “Art and Politics of the Black Experience,'' as well as lecturing on current events—from the U.S. invasion of Grenada to the television mini-series, “Roots.” In Dan Augustine’s 1981 interview for the student newspaper, The Toot, Davis voices her concerns about Ronald Reagan and the resurgence of racism, as well as speaks very fondly of her teacher, Herbert Marcuse, and the need to “fight against police crimes….and doing work around prisoner’s rights.” She also references the School’s “tuition waiver program,” the need for more diversity on campus, and her being the faculty advisor for the students’ “Ethnic Arts Collective.”

For more on Angela Davis and SFAI see this specific link to UC’s Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives virtual Matrix exhibit: Orbits of Known and Unknown Objects: SFAI Histories, Matrix 277

With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.



Lawrence Ferlinghetti, reads from A Coney Island of the Mind at SFAI’s 2012 Commencement

Ferlinghetti, attended SFAI’s Friday afternoon open studio drawing sessions beginning in 1956 and would hang out at the School’s cafe and outdoor courtyard adjacent to the Meadow. At the 2012 Commencement Ferlinghetti received the MacAgy Award, recognized as a Poet, Pacifist, Publisher, Painter, Political Activist and a Pretty Damn Good Role Model.

Go to the 21 minute mark on this Vimeo link to hear Ferlinghetti’s advice to the SFAI graduating class of 2012.


With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.



Charles Wong, San Francisco Chinese New Year, 1952


Charles Wong (1922- ) studied at the School in the late 1930s returning on the G.I. Bill to focus on photography from 1949-1951, studying with Dorothea Lange, Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Lisette Model, and Ansel Adams. He was the first photographer to win the prestigious Albert Bender Award in 1952. The project for his Bender Grant was titled The Year of the Dragon which was published by Minor White in aperture magazine in 1953. Wong's original Year of the Dragon portfolio is in the collection of the San Francisco Art Institute Library. Gong hei fat choy!


With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.


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