A photo of a Totoro exhibit at CAM.

Image: A photo of the Totor exhibit at CAM in 2012 | ComicsGrinder

San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum (CAM) began in 1984 with a group of artists who would put up temporary shows in other museums and spaces. By 1987, they gained the attention of Charles M. Schwarz. With his endowment, they were able to set up a permanent location in Yerba Buena Gardens. They stayed at this location until 2015. In this time, the museum had over 100 exhibitions and 20 publications ranging from book illustration to graphic novels to animation to zines. The museum is currently looking for a new home and has taken all of its exhibitions off site after they were unable to renew their lease.

In the interim while they look for a new permanent home, the museum has set up a variety of classes and temporary exhibits. The classes are offered at their temporary location near the Renaissance Entrepreneur Center. These classes range from individual lessons to group classes to after school programs for children. Throughout 2016, the Museum will be contributing to a variety of events all over San Francisco and will host the Queer Comics Expo with the Queer Cultural Center. For information on any of these opportunities please see the museums website. Past exhibitions have included ‘Slinging Satire: Masters of Political Cartoons” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

The mission of the CAM is to “preserve, document, and exhibit this unique and accessible art form.” The CAM focuses on programs of community outreach to discuss “cultural diversity in the community, as well as the importance of self-expression.” This work will continue even without a permanent location. In addition to over 6,000 pieces of cartoon art, their outreach programs, work with artists, library and bookstore, the CAM has something to offer any visitor. Though it is a lesser known museum, it has a huge diversity of content to offer the visitor. If you’d like to contribute or support the museum, tax deductible donations can be made through their website.