Mission Statement

The mission of the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art (SDAAMFA) is to present and preserve the art of African Americans globally and to broaden the knowledge and understanding of the visual arts in Southeastern California generally and San Diego specifically by collecting, preserving and displaying works of art by and about African Americans; by creating and hosting quality traveling exhibitions; by collecting and preserving fine art and by developing and helping to foster an appreciation of art through meaningful public programs, symposia, and other educational programs.

Museum History

In 1992, the late Shirley Day Williams a long time San Diego resident and patron of the arts established the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art.  A decade following her passing, the museum’s activities became dormant. In 2013, Gaidi Finnie convinced a small group of individuals that a need remains for an African American Museum in San Diego. The inaugural exhibit for the reestablished museum was installed in February 2014 entitled“In Our Lifetime…”The photographic exhibition featured images of some of the individuals who were participated in the events of the Civil Rights movement that culminated with President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The purpose of this museum is to present and preserve the art of African Americans globally. The museum’s programing is curated with the goal of educating those who are interested in learning and impress even the most seasoned art enthusiast.

It is clear that great art is simply that, great art. Where there is a difference is in the stories that are told through art; the lifestyles, the pain, the joy, the love, the struggles as told through the perspective of an African American Artist. These experiences translate into art, which is varied, unique, and undeniably the source of great pride for people of the African Diaspora.



"The immense contributions of African Americans to the art world is well documented. This is an exciting time in the arts. We are seeing a renewed appreciation for renowned artists like Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, and Romare Bearden. At the same time the next generation of artist approach the canvas with no limitations. The result is the opportunity to experience some of the best art this country has produced. SDAAMFA is the answer to a frequently asked question. “Where  do you go to experience African American Art in San Diego?” Our exhibits feature art that is original, thought-provoking, interesting, and most of all a little something for everyone.”

(Gaidi Finnie, SDAAMFA Chairman of the Board)


Black Life:
San Diego Museum of Art

Black Life presents a collection of photographs by three prominent photographers, and members of the African American community in Los Angeles during the second half of the 20th century, documenting political events, as well as daily life of this community.


Past Events


Black Life: A Conversation

SDAAMFA, in partnership with the San Diego Museum of Art hosts a discussion regarding Black life today. This is a conversation that is relevant to all, regardless of race or ethnicity. A discussion led by SDAAMFA Board Chair, Gaidi Finnie and Historian/Archivist at the Tom/Ethel Bradley Center, Cal State Northridge, Keith Rice.


When: Saturday, October 26

Where: San Diego Museum of Art (Museum Board Room) at 2:00 PM

Admission: $5.00 Museum Members & Seniors/$10.00 Nonmembers/Free for Students through College

Free for APAC members and college students/ $5 Museum members and seniors/$10 nonmembers




For any inquiries, please fill out the form below.

Museum Office

Mailing Address:

555 Saturn Blvd. Suite B, #261

San Diego, CA



Tel: (619)253-8499

Fax: (619)575-4089


To volunteer or intern with SDAAMFA, contact us by email and send a cover letter.

Thank you for contacting the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art. Due to the high volume of e-mails we receive, it is important that you make your request as specific as possible. We will make every effort to respond to your request promptly.


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