About the Harvey Milk Recreation Center

Harvey Milk Center for the Arts

HarveyMilkCenterAbout this Facility

“Overlooking beautiful Duboce Park, the Harvey Milk Center for the Recreational Arts is as unique as the Civil Rights leader it was named for. Originally dedicated to the Performing Arts, the building, commonly called “Drama, Dance & Music”, was headquarters for the Performing Arts Division of the Recreation and Park Department since its construction in 1954. Duboce Park itself, has been a location for arts programming since the early 1920’s when the women volunteers of the San Francisco Urban Story League performed puppet shows and storytelling in the park for children.”

Programs at this Site

HarveyMilkCenter2“Harvey Milk Center for the Arts is dedicated to the recreation programing of Visual, Digital, Dance and Performing Arts. We offer youth, adult and senior programing. The top portion of the Center features two levels of the building with 2 separate dance rehearsal rooms, while the park level of the building is the Harvey Milk Photo Center with separate operational hours and separate photo center staff. The 50 Scott Street entrance does feature a sound recording box and recording studio within the Center, along with art classrooms.”


“Rentals are tailored towards Art and Community related rentals only.

Our two large rooms (the Ballroom & Dance Studio) have wooden floors with mirrors on one side of the room, a sound system and a projection screen in the Ballroom only. We do not allow food in the Ballroom or Dance Studio.”

For more information, visit sfrecpark.org.

Harvey Milk Photo Center

About this Facility

“Celebrating over 75 years, the Harvey Milk Photo Center is the oldest and largest community wet darkroom in the United States. We also offer a full Digital Lab at our facility to our members.

The facility’s library and photo processing lab are named in honor of renowned local photographer David Johnson, whose photography captured the daily life of San Francisco African Americans in the Fillmore District—from the neighborhood’s heyday in the 1940s and 1950s through the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.

Johnson, who was born in Jacksonville, Fla., first arrived in San Francisco after he served in World War II. He studied photography at the California School of Fine Arts (later the San Francisco Art Institute) under Ansel Adams and Minor White. Johnson was Adams’ first African American student. Both Adams and White encouraged Johnson to cover his day-to-day environment.

Between 1947 and into the 1960s, Johnson photographed people on the streets and sidewalks, as well as in places like barbershops, churches, social clubs, and juke joints. One of his most well-known photographs is “Clarence,” a portrait of a 5-year-old boy sitting on the steps of a Fillmore church. The photograph was chosen as the San Francisco Chronicle’s Picture of the Week in 1947. Johnson’s work stands out today as remnants of a bygone era when African Americans occupied a prominent presence in the Fillmore.”

Programs at this Site

“Our program annually now exceeds over 300 classes, workshops and lectures. All exhibits, lectures, special events, memberships, are available to the public. Our wide selection of classes and workshops are taught by working professionals within the industry, in both fine arts and commercial photography. We also offer numerous scholarships for anyone living in San Francisco wishing to take our classes.

Classes in photography for Teens and Adults, Virtual Photography classes, community dark room, and exhibits.”

For more information, visit sfrecpark.org or harveymilkphotocenter.org.