10,000 New Millionaires in San Francisco + A New San Francisco Art Fair

This year, tech startups Uber, Lyft, Pinterest, and Airbnb all plan to go public. What does that mean for San Francisco art fairs, and the artists in them?

Employees who’ve long been asked to “keep the faith” will now see stock valuations in the multiple millions, resulting in what the New York Times estimates as “10,000 new millionaires” living right in the heart of the Golden Gate City. A latter day gold rush of sorts, this new boom will directly impact San Francisco itself versus Silicon Valley bedroom communities like Palo Alto and San Jose that have spawned giants like Google and Facebook. The reason? All of the companies going public this year — Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and more will see their IPOs in 2019 — have made San Francisco proper their home, bolstered by city-sponsored tax incentives.

MIRA, an urban residential development in the heart of San Francisco;  image by Binyan, courtesy of Studio Gang

MIRA, an urban residential development in the heart of San Francisco; image by Binyan, courtesy of Studio Gang

With this overnight influx of 10,000 new millionaires in San Francisco comes all the requisite trappings — cars, $7,500 electric bikes, and of course new homes…with lots and lots of beautiful bare walls primed for beautiful new art. So what does that mean for the San Francisco art marketplace? Here’s a clue: it’s not whether these newly minted high-rollers will buy art, but rather how they’ll buy art.

In a recent artnet article by Eileen Kinsella, the San Francisco-based art collector and publicist Florie Hutchinson is quoted as saying:

“These are millennials and mostly software engineers,” she notes. “Their lexicon is information.”

Translation? Old guard art world ideals of opacity, exclusivity, and un-anchored pricing models won’t stand up to this new audience. A new take on the San Francisco art fair is needed. Affluent millennial collectors may have never bought original art before but certainly have the interest and the money to do so. They want to know what they’re buying, how much it costs, and why. That’s where the idea of affordable art in San Francisco comes in. This new audience wants to buy art with pricing anchored by their existing understanding of it — still quite an upgrade from the posters they might’ve had up in their apartments before, but not so far out of reach that the very idea plunges them into feelings of other-ness when presented with the possibility of buying art. An approach to San Francisco art fairs that takes this new, moneyed group of prospective art buyers into account is vital.

Superfine! NYC 2019 5.5-16.jpg

When Superfine! SF launches for applications this August, we’re geared up to introduce artists and curators from the Bay Area and around the globe to this new art marketplace of art-hungry San Franciscans — and everyone else — on their turf, both geographically and psychologically. Buying directly from the artist, affordable + transparent art prices, and a more comfortable atmosphere all play into how we’ve designed our fairs for a millennial audience of San Francisco art collectors. San Francisco already has this audience in droves: the IPOs of Uber and the other tech superstars will only rally and swell their numbers. At only 50 artist exhibitors and a handful of progressive galleries and curators, Superfine! SF is an intimate, curated, accessible take on the traditional art fair. We’re positioning as a conduit for the new San Francisco art collector to discover art, and our approach works.

So there’s a quickly growing audience of new art buyers in the Golden Gate City, and we’re here to help artists reach them through our upcoming San Francisco art fair. Placements are extremely limited and once applications are released, they’ll be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis. If you’re an artist or curator and growing a collector list, making sales, and securing an independent art-making lifestyle is important to you, Superfine! Art Fair might just be the place to start building your art marketplace in San Francisco.

Superfine! SF will take place from February 27 - March 1 at Fort Mason San Francisco.

*** Artist applications considered on a rolling basis. ***


Alex Mitow

A guiding force in the curatorial style and business approach of all Superfine! fairs, Alex is also a major collector of contemporary art, (partially recovering) social media addict, freelance writer, and constant content creator. With a base in New York's DUMBO neighborhood, Alex, James, and the team have launched Superfine! fairs in multiple major markets with plans for at least six fairs in 2020.