Windborne, Jamie. Review, Art News Extra, Saturday June 25, 2005 (reproduction).
City curator Rupert Jenkins hosts last show at SFAC Gallery.

CIVIC CENTER — Rupert Jenkins, gallery director for the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, is curating his last exhibition for the municipal space. Amid many hugs and goodbye kisses, Jenkins paid many of his friends and supporters an emotional farewell Friday, June 24.

Speaking to Jenkins about his accomplishments, joys and reflections as gallery director for 10 years, he told Art News Extra! that his greatest challenge has been coping with budget cuts because of the city running a deficit. “There may be a lot of advantages funding-wise as a city gallery, including guaranteed income, but we have to learn to diversify the income stream because of funding cuts,” he said.

According to Jenkins, the SFAC hosts between 15 and 30 exhibits a year while featuring nearly 200 artists in both solo and group shows. Even though money continues to tighten, Jenkins said that costs are sometimes offset by the talents and innovations of others.

“We have gained a strong board of advisors, and we maintain the gallery with such fundraisers like the upcoming Commission 05,” he said. The gallery derives nearly a third of its support through private donors and fundraising events through programs like its annual commission release parties. More information on the upcoming “Commission 05” event can be found at

Jenkins, who is leaving the city to work on his MBA in nonprofit management at the University of Denver, described his most rewarding experience while working in the San Francisco arts community for the last 22 years. “The greatest joy has to be working with the artists,” he said. “It’s great to work with artists who are dedicated to their work. It’s a major step in their career and one of the most satisfying to me.”

Gallery goals that Jenkins has found himself grappling with are the same as any other gallery in the city: to increase visibility and marketing while facing limitations in funding and staff. In terms of his replacement, gallery manager Meleksah Henderson will be taking over for Jenkins when he leaves.

Running through August 13, The current exhibition at the Main Gallery, 401 Van Ness, includes the solo show “10×10: 8 Week Lease (Reluctant Monument)” in the South Gallery by Bari Ziperstein along with a group show in the North Gallery, “Marking Time Mapping Thought”. The North Gallery show features artwork by Michael Banicki, Brad Brown, Nigel Poor, Christina Ray, and Lee Walton.

At the night of the opening, Bari Ziperstein said her installation has received satisfying responses from gallery visitors. “Most are surprised at how monumental the piece is and how the sculpture takes over the space,” she said about her ceiling-high storage boxes that emit an attractive glow of rainbow colors between the cardboard crevices.

“The color represents the possibility of what’s in the boxes,” she said, explaining that the issue of storage in our society is a symptom of our consumer culture. “It’s how you see things in storage: looking in between things when you are trying to find something.”

For more information on the SFAC Gallery, visit at

— Jamie Windborne, Art News Extra! editor