Located within the World Trade Center section of San Francisco's landmark Ferry Building, the International Children's Art Museum features art from children around the world. Its purpose is to help viewers broaden their perspective of art and cultures by displaying, comparing, and contrasting the many ways in which youth the world over interpret life.
Given its own international heritage, the nearly 240,000-square-foot Ferry Building is in many ways the perfect venue for this museum. Originally built between 1896 and 1903 as a central ferry port, the structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its neo-Romanesque fazade and 240-foot-high clock tower were modeled after the campanile of Seville Cathedral known as the Giralda. The building and its tower survived the devastating earthquake of 1906 intact to become the symbol of San Francisco for decades.
In 1956, the World Trade Center took up residence in the Ferry Building's north wing, providing an exhibition space for products from all parts of the globe. This is where the International Children's Art Museum chose to locate, developing its own exhibitions, educational activities, and publications aimed at greater appreciation of the creativity, talents, and diversity of youthful artists from all over the world.
In total, five programs have been developed to help the International Children's Art Museum achieve its mission. The most obvious and prominent one is the "Museum Exhibition Galleries,'' where children's art is recognized and displayed. A second is the "Travelling Exhibition Program,'' which takes the museum's collected works out to other communities.
Two other focuses are the "Product Development Program'' and the "Art Workshop Program,'' which encourage hands-on creativity among youth. In fact, one much-appreciated aspect of the International Children's Art Museum is its "drop-in art workshops'' for kids held on Saturdays. And the "International School Art & Writing Exchange Program'' brings students of the world together through communication in words as well as pictures.
A theme that runs through all of the museum's work is something called "Paintbrush Diplomacy.'' It is the idea that art can bridge differences in language and culture. In this sense, the museum is meant for adults as well as children.
The operating hours of the International Children's Art Museum are from 11am to 5pm on Monday through Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. The admission fee is one dollar for adults and fifty cents for children. Food and drink are not allowed in the museum, but there several restaurants and cafys located within the Ferry Building Marketplace on the first floor of the south wing.
The International Children's Art Museum is located at the intersection of Embarcadero and Market Street. The address is Suite 103, World Trade Center, Ferry Building, San Francisco, California, 94111. It is easily reached via public transportation, served by the MUNI, Golden Gate Transit, BART and F Train. Access by water is also available with the Golden Gate Ferry, Blue and Gold Fleet, and Bay Link Ferries.
For those who come by car, valet parking is provided in front of the Ferry Building from 9:30am to 10pm on Monday through Friday. Convenient parking is also offered at the adjacent Pier 1/2 Lot, which will accept validations from San Francisco Ferry Building merchants. Metered parking can be found on the area's surface streets, too.