Low-key gem at San Francisco wharf set to close for good

After more than a decade of showcasing San Francisco’s most extensive photography collection on the city’s waterfront, Pier 24 Photography has announced it will permanently close once its lease with the Port expires in July 2025.

The Pilara Foundation, which runs the museum, said in a press release that the foundation is “changing its philanthropic focus” to the areas of arts, education and health care research, and Pier 24 Photography will close as a result.

The decision also comes as the result of a long effort to extend the museum’s lease with the Port, founder Andrew Pilara said.

“After struggling for five years to secure a new lease with the San Francisco Port Commission and its ultimate decision to triple our rent, we definitely informed our decision to close,” Pilara said in the statement. “Rather than operating with a significantly higher annual budget, we believe that money could be better utilized by local organizations.”

Pilara also noted that the challenges faced by museums in San Francisco were heightened by the pandemic, leaving Pier 24 Photography to reflect on how it can “best serve the city as a whole.”

“We have determined our greatest future contribution to the Bay Area community would be in this new capacity,” Pilara said in the statement.

The museum opened in 2010 after spending two years remodeling the 88-year-old annex of the Embarcadero’s Pier 24. It has since showcased 11 exhibitions highlighting the work of scores of contemporary photographers, along with the permanent collection of the Pilara Foundation.

Pier 24 Photography still plans to hold one more exhibition before closing in 2025, and reservations to visit the museum — which is open by appointment only — will reopen in February.

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