Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era -
DAVID JOHNSON, Bassist David Robinson at the Primalon Ballroom, c. 1940s-1950s, gelatin silver print, courtesy of the artist.

Photography Gallery

Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era

November 20 - December 31, 2021

Curated by Lewis Watts

In the 1940s and 50s, San Francisco’s Fillmore District was a vibrant multicultural neighborhood where jazz greats such as John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, and Billie Holiday shared their music. It is a history almost forgotten after the massive redevelopment of the area. This exhibition presents rare archival photographs from that lively chapter in jazz history and the African-American community. Curator Lewis Watts, a former Bolinas resident, is an internationally exhibited photographer, archivist, Professor Emeritus of Art at U.C. Santa Cruz and U.C. Berkeley, and co-author, with Elizabeth Pepin Silva, of Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era.

Saturday, December 18, Lewis Watts will be in the gallery 1 – 4 PM to answer questions about the exhibition and book. 

Listen to and watch curator Lewis Watts and photographer David Johnson in recent conversations in the media:

Aired February 15, 2022, on KNTV:

Aired on December 5, 2021, on KWMR, Original Minds, hosted by Elia Haworth, Bolins Museum Curator of Coastal Marin Art & History. LISTEN NOW >

Aired on December 5, 2021, on KPFA, Sunday Show, hosted by Sherry Gendleman, LISTEN NOW >

Published on November 17, 2021, Archives as Muse: A Harlem Storytelling Project, CCNY MFA Symposium: How Creatives Use The Archives – Featuring Herb Boyd, WATCH NOW >