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Exploring the San Francisco Bay Area’s ARToberfest 2014 (Part 1)

audrey-part-1San Francisco – Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If you’ve never been to San Francisco during October, then you’re may not know of the intoxicating, warm October weather here. This is our “Indian Summer.” It’s a time when you can walk out the door without that light jacket you’ve previously clung to all year long. You do not face blasts of cold wind as you do during San Francisco’s summer months, but rather, these lighter, spirited breezes. To make this somewhat confusing, the sun still begins to set earlier even in the midst of this great weather. For years, this month has also remained one of the busiest seasons for art and literary events in the Bay Area.

Here is my first adventure involving ARToberfest and the Bay Area Open Studios this month. More pictures and stories will follow soon as we come to the last two weekends of this month. Truly, I only reached a small number of the hundreds of art and lit events going on this ARTober.

Rachel Dwan - Studio 1
Rachel Dwan in her studio. Photo courtesy of Artiholics.

Bay Area artist, Rachel Dwan and I planned a studio visit after her Open Studio night with Art Explosion in the Protrero District of SF. I missed the big public Open Studio event, however, receiving an invitation for a studio visit is really key.  It’s a great reason to seek out these events. During studio visits, that’s when you really get to ask questions, see the works that have been packed away, or just hear additional insights from the artist.

During my visit, I learned that Dwan completed her undergrad degree in Architecture at Stanford University and now mixes in with art makers, designers and really anyone desiring a conversation on the process of building or creating anything. She sees connections between her former field of study and her current art practice.

Rachel Dwan - Studio 4
Photo courtesy of Artiholics.

As we talked, I noticed how Dwans comfortably talks with her hands, a sign of having lots of illustrative stuff to say. She also drew me into the conversation with a slew of questions about my own work with Artiholics and writing in general. That balanced exchange can really make a studio visit memorable and worthwhile.   We peeked through her drawings and some paintings, both old and new.

We talked about intuitive marks, and happenstance. In one set of paintings, Dwan’s marks come from a rolling brush that allowed her to experiment and choose which patterns to emphasize, continue, or discontinue. Her space is well-lit and felt very well cared for. I can see why someone would want to work there for as many hours as Dwan works.

Follow up with us to see more of the Bay Area Fall Events in the coming days.  For listings of the remaining open studios, check out Fun Cheap SF, or the SF/ARTS website.  If you know the name of a large art studio complex in San Francisco, check out their website for details on upcoming events.

For the future, also search for the names of these organizations combined with the terms “Open Studios” for more info. Links provided for this year’s latest event news:

Hunter’s Point (
Headlands Center for the Arts (, Also see “Public Events” Page:
The Dog Patch (
Berkeley Artisans (
Oakland Art Murmur (
Oakland Art enthusiast:
The ever-intriguing Calendar for the San Francisco Art Institute (

Let us know what we may have missed.


Written by: Audrey Tran


Written by
Audrey Tran

After graduating from New York University’s Journalism and Studio Art programs, Audrey Tran moved to the Bay Area where she writes and constructs artwork. Past web articles have appeared on, the Hyperallergic Blog, her own, Uhuru Foods & Pies, and In recent years, she has exhibited work alongside artists of DSNY, and the mail art exchange, Special Delivery. Currently, she’s writing about mail art. For Artiholics, Audrey covers various art events around San Francisco.

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