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Our History
Our History

The AAACC has enjoyed a long and storied history in San Francisco.

In July 1989, Supervisor Willie B. Kennedy forwarded a resolution to the Board of Supervisors that urged the Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco to consider the sale or long-term lease of the Western Addition Cultural Center to better reflect the needs of the community in terms of programming, management and operations. The resolution passed unanimously.

Ms. Geraldine Johnson helped shape the preliminary draft legislation and efforts began in earnest to forge a new entity – a cultural center that would serve the community for generations to come. The community turned to the leadership of the Wajumbe Cultural Institution, Inc., and the San Francisco African American Historical Society - two of the oldest African American cultural organizations in San Francisco. A new non-profit corporation was formed in 1989 - the Center for African and African American Art and Culture. Since then, the name of the center has changed, but our mission and values remain the same: to provide a space in San Francisco and beyond for cross-cultural understanding through the celebration of African and African American experiences and history.

Today, the African American Arts & Culture Complex is a vital resource in San Francisco, adding to the city’s rich culture and diversity. We serve not only San Francisco’s African American community, but also the entire San Francisco Bay Area, as well as tourists.

We are dedicated to community change by fostering a commitment to service and activism through Afro-centric artistic and cultural performance, exhibition and programming. Our 34,000 sq. ft. facility houses an art gallery and three art exhibitions spaces, a 203 seat theater, a recording studio, library and archives of African American history, two dance studios and other multi-purpose space.

We offer visual and performing arts programs and classes including music, dance, theatre, audio recording, and arts and crafts. We also offer affordable performing arts venues for a host of community events, meetings, performances, art exhibits, trainings and conferences.

Our space also serves as a home to some of the most respected performing arts organizations in the Bay Area, including AfroSolo Theatre Company, the African American Shakespeare Company and Cultural Odyssey. Other resident art organizations include the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society, the San Francisco Juneteenth Festival, Take Wings Foundation, Robert Henry Johnson and SF Noir.

Supported primarily by the San Francisco Arts Commission, the AAACC’s success also depends on the support and participation of the general public. Visit our Support Us page to find out ways you can help.

The artwork featured on the web site is part of the mural on the east wall of the African American Art and Culture Complex. Titled "A Celebration of African and African American Artists," the mural was created by artist Dewey Crumpler in 1993. The Mayor’s Office of Community Development sponsored the acrylic-on-concrete  artwork, which measures 45 feet tall by 131 feet wide and was created with the assistance of Kermit Amenophis, Bonnie Long, and Sandra Roberts. The mural is published in "Walls of Heritage, Walls of Pride: African American Murals" by James Prigoff and Robin J. Dunitz.