Whatever Happened to Friday Nights?

Last week marked the close of Friday Nights at the de Young's season seven. We sat down with public programs director Renee Baldocchi to reflect on the past successes of Friday Nights at the de Young and to learn about what’s in store for the future, including upcoming programming for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.

 © Adrian Arias

More than 95,000 people came to 47 Friday Nights in 2011 alone! Responding to the program’s success, Baldocchi says that Friday Nights at the de Young are unique "because everyone is invited into the space. You can walk into the museum and see every age group, meet families, hipsters, and elders. I think a visitor from Washington, D.C. said it best when he said he could not find a stereotype to describe the audience at the de Young."

 © Adrian Arias

"The people that come to the de Young on Friday Nights reflect the wide spectrum of voices in and around the Bay Area, which is in large part thanks to the artists we invite to perform," says Baldocchi.

 © Adrian Arias

Wilsey Court is where the majority of the Friday Nights events take place and is what Baldocchi feels “is the hub of the museum—the piazza, zócalo, or town square where everyone can come together." That aspect of coming together represents the lifeblood of the public programs at the de Young and Legion of Honor.

 © Adrian Arias

During construction of the new de Young over a decade ago, the public programs team continued programming at the Legion of Honor, cultivating and building upon relationships with collaborators and advisory boards. "Our wonderful community partners include arts organizations, consulates, advisory boards and artists, and they continue to help bring the exhibitions alive with their cultural and artistic expertise and knowledge,” says Baldocchi. When the new de Young opened in 2005, Friday Nights quickly became the hot spot where all of San Francisco went to kick off the weekend.

Friday Nights returns on March 30, 2012 with opening night for season 8 and continues to celebrate the Bay Area community, this time in the context of the special exhibition exploring the artistic output of Jean Paul Gaultier. Baldocchi urges everyone to come dressed to impress in "fantastical" costume inventions inspired by the innovative fashion designer. As part of the night’s art-making activities, visitors will have the opportunity to add on to their costume, bringing San Francisco fashion from the sidewalk to the museum.

What to look for in Season Eight

  • The seventh annual Saint Vincent de Paul "Discarded to Divine" fashion event
  • New Generations student showcase
  • The 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge celebration
  • Young at Art Festival
  • Artist Fellows
  • Live music, dancing, art making, and much more

Friday Nights at the de Young could not have been possible without our countless collaborating partners, including the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the African-American Art and Culture Complex, Intersection for the Arts, Red Poppy Art House and many others. These organizations, vital to the San Francisco cultural landscape, enhance the Fine Arts Museums community.

While Friday Nights is on hiatus, the de Young permanent collection and temporary exhibition galleries remain open Tuesday–Sunday, 9:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m. For more information, please click here.

Wondering what to do with your Friday Nights? Stay up to date with new programs at both museums using our online calendar, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.