3.9 Art Collective

San Francisco Black artists collective

The 3.9 Art Collective is an association of African American artists, curators, and art writers who live in San Francisco and came together to draw attention to the city’s dwindling Black population. The 3.9 Art Collective bears witness to this phenomenon, and seeks to reverse it by drawing attention to the historical and ongoing presence of Black artists in the city and creative expression in its Black communities. Through multiple forms of presentation and outreach, they create and claim spaces to display artwork; nurture young artists and develop educational programs for students; and write about and curate exhibitions to generate productive, cross-cultural dialogues. Formed just before the 2010 census, the 3.9 Collective took its name from a report in The San Francisco Bay View, a weekly paper that predicted that the city’s Black population would decrease dramatically—to three-point nine percent (3.9%) of the total population. While the number of Black San Franciscans has not fallen to this level, there is a Black migration out of San Francisco, driven by wave after wave of gentrification, stubborn social inequities, and the under-resourcing of minority communities. The 3.9 Art Collective has adopted this statistic as an act of resistance and a commitment to the ideals and narratives of a diverse San Francisco. The 3.9 Collective was founded by San Francisco artists Nancy Cato, Rodney Ewing, Sirron Norris, William Rhodes, and Ron Moultrie Saunders.