Graphic Arts Workshop
(located between 22nd & 23rd Street)
San Francisco, CA 94107
The Graphic Arts Workshop is a cooperative of approximately 40 artists who work primarily in traditional printmaking techniques. The Workshop is a non-profit, mutual benefit corporation. There is no paid staff, and all responsibilities for the maintenance of a fully-equipped printmaking studio (including etching and stone litho presses) are shared equally by all members of the Workshop. Administrative management of the Workshop is conducted by a board of directors elected from and by the membership for a two-year term
The Graphic Arts Workshop, or GAW, was founded by faculty from the California Labor School in 1952. Their societal concerns were reflected in each artist’s style of work and in the co-operative form of the Workshop. In addition to fulfilling the mission that the GAW pursues today, members in the early years printed posters, leaflets, and pamphlets in support of peace and civil rights issues. During the Sixties, the GAW lent space for anti-Vietnam War activities.
Between 1954 and 1978, the GAW printed and published a calendar each year featuring members’ works, sales of which covered a large portion of the GAW’s annual operating costs.
Over the years, the GAW membership has included many distinguished artists, undertaken national and international art exchanges, and hosted traveling exhibits. A quote in a pamphlet from a History exhibit held in 1989 at the GAW’s former home and gallery on California Street offers this sentiment: “In all this, there were no imposed styles or themes. Artist-members as individuals worked freely with a diversity whose common element was the love of printmaking.”
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