The name “Yerba Buena” was originally given to the area now known as San Francisco by its first Spanish settlers, after the abundance of a particular herb. In 1980 the city decided to rejuvenate a dilapidated neighborhood, giving it the name Yerba Buena, with a Center for the Arts at the core of its mission. The Center’s mandate was to provide contemporary multidisciplinary art rooted in the local community, but with national and international significance. YBCA would be a focal point of interaction between art and the public, with an emphasis on change and experimentation.
YBCA’s two buildings are the Galleries (a flexible art space and film/video screening room) and the Novellus Theater. Exhibitions include installations, sculpture, video, photography, and live music performance; often many of which are employed in a single piece. YBCA’s season begins in September, each season exploring three “Big Ideas”, themes to be explored by contemporary artists.
The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts has no permanent collection of art, but has presented the work of over 2,200 visual and performing artists and commissioned 125 premiere performances and exhibitions.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Information
- Venues: Novellus Theater at YBCA, 700 Howard Street at 3rd; YBCA Galleries & Forum Building, 701 Mission Street
- Public Transportation: Excellent (a short walk from buses 14, 30, and 45 at 3rd Street/Mission Street; and buses 5, 6, 9, 21, 31, 38, 38L, and 71, light rail lines F, J, K, L, M, N, and T, and BART trains at the Montgomery Street station. Also accessible by Golden Gate Transit, SamTrans, and Caltrain)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: YBCA produces 12–15 events per year; other companies also produce at the Novellus and Forum. Programming includes multimedia performance, dance, world theater, comedy, solo shows, performance art, and more
- Ticket Prices: Vary based on presentation. $5 discounts are offered for seniors, students and teachers for all YBCA performances. Shows available on Goldstar.com. Film or performance ticket includes free same-day admission to the gallery
- Group Discounts: Discounts available for groups of 10 or more to YBCA shows, and some group discounts available to other shows
- Subscriptions: A Pick 4 subscription package gets you $5 off regular ticket prices ($10 off if you’re a YBCA member). Pick 4 benefits include free ticket exchanges and an invite to the season-announcement party. Ticket exchanges are available for non-subscribers with a $2 fee
- Membership: Membership starts at $65 ($25 off for working artists, seniors, full-time students, and full-time teachers). Benefits include $5 off all tickets to YBCA shows, a 10% discount at local eateries, an invitation to the annual season-announcement preview party, free gallery and opening-night-party admission, discounts on film and performance tickets, and waived ticket-handling fees. At the $165 member level, benefits also include reciprocal member privileges at more than 100 arts venues throughout the country.