June 25, 2021

July 2021 Design & Art Event Hotlist

INVT’s curated list of “must do” creative events is designed to inspire.

Museums around the world are reopening, people are gathering, and creatives are finally able to share their work IRL! This month we’re soaking up all the creative inspiration we can get at in-person events—like the return of outdoor concerts at Stern Grove and NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences.

That doesn’t mean we’re going to miss out on the amazing still-virtual events, and we hope you’ll join us online for experiences at the Asian Art Museum and the Museum of Craft and Design.

If you aren’t already familiar with our “Hotlist” posts, here’s the skinny: INVT co-founders and practicing designers Arianna Orland and Dava Guthmiller review all the invitations they receive to design & art events and choose the ones they “must do.” Here’s their curated list for July 2021.


What is it like to be a Black person surviving a global pandemic or a Black person navigating the world after the murder of George Floyd? What does a Black artist’s self-determination look like? Twenty-three Creativity Explored artists met to examine these questions, and their answers—in the form of their artworks—appear in this group exhibition. $10 for a 25-minute, in-person Gallery Visit (which can be applied to any in-store purchase during your visit). Now through August 19. Online and at Creativity Explored, 3245 16th Street, San Francisco.

Next to You.

As we emerge from months (and months!) of social isolation, we’re going to reawaken our senses at this exhibition of artworks from the McEvoy Family Collection that celebrates the joy, vitality, and healing power of the performing arts. Dance, theater, music, circus arts, film, and other creative forms will be featured. Free (reservations are required). Now through December 4. IRL at McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, 1150 25th Street, Building B, San Francisco.

NightLife at California Academy of Sciences.

Calling all creatures of the night! These popular nocturnal events are coming back to California Academy of Sciences with live DJs, outdoor bars, ambiance lighting, and nearly 40,000 live animals (including familiar faces like Claude the albino alligator). It’s going to be wild! For adults only (21+ with ID). $22 (must be reserved in advance). Thursdays, 6:00 to 10:00 pm. IRL at California Academy of Sciences (in Golden Gate Park), 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco.

Stern Grove Festival.

The City’s beloved summer tradition is back! The first official outdoor concert in Stern Grove was given on June 19, 1932 (featuring the San Francisco Symphony), and this season, a curated mix of entertainers will grace the stage for 10 free concerts. July’s performers include Thievery Corporation, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, and X. Free. (Check the website for new CDC policies. This year, tickets must be reserved in advance.) Sundays through August 29, 2:00 pm. Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and Sloat Blvd., San Francisco.

Exploratorium reopens.

We can hardly wait to support this INVT partner—in person! Experience the delight of illusion in Aperture Lucida, share Stories of Change, discover the future of autonomously driven cars in Sensor Fusion, and feed your curiosity through exhibits that inspire us to explore science, art, and human perception. Children $19.95, youth/teachers/seniosr $24.95, adults $29.95. July 1. Exploratorium at Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green Street), San Francisco.

NightSchool: Color of Life.

In nature, color is way more than just an aesthetic. For example, strawberry poison dart frogs, found in Panama, have brilliant and variable skin tones that warn off potential predators and rivals for mates. At this virtual program offered through the California Academy of Sciences, we’ll learn about these fascinating animals—and butterflies and birds—and how their colors affect their everyday life and the species’ survival. Free. July 1, 7:00 pm PDT. Online.

Art Escapes: Virtual Tours Through Asia.

Dr. Fan Zhang will be leading “Rise of Buddhist Art in China,” a virtual, behind-the-scenes tour at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum. Highlights of the 20-minute tour will include the oldest dated Chinese Buddha—still glittering with gold—and a larger-than-life wooden bodhisattva that has been around for centuries. This is a great opportunity to gain insights into millennia of craft and creativity. Free for members; $5 for nonmembers. July 3, 4:00 pm PDT. Online.

MCD Virtual Speaker Series: Make Conscious and PLAYLAB.

We anticipate a lively interchange of ideas when Make Conscious’s Jessica Kung Dreyfus and PLAYLAB, INC.’s Archie Lee Coates IV join the Museum of Craft and Design to discuss how we might redesign work systems to be more nurturing, whimsical, and innately creative. Free for MCD and Phenomenal Museum members; $10 regular; $8 students and seniors. July 23, 1:00–2:00 pm PDT. Online.