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If the Mission District’s first obsession is food, its second is increasingly art. No matter the economy, brave men and women open art galleries with abandon and on any given weekend nowadays there are a handful of new shows going up.

It’s a bounty gallery owners welcome. “The more that’s going on is actually better for us,” said Courtney Fink, the director of Southern Exposure, which moved late last year into its new space at Alabama and 20th Street.  Her new neighborhood, she said, has seen its own little growth spurt, with Guerrero Gallery added in early March.


Click on the photo above for a printable map of the Mission's art galleries.

“Trust me, it’s very scary and still kind of very scary, ” said Andre Guerrero about opening after a year in which “basically the art market was torn apart.”

But not here, it seems. His recent show sold well. Dina Pugh, who co-directs Triple Base Gallery with Joyce Grimm, said they’ve managed to sustain a customer base and support through the recession.

To ensure health, the arts community is working together to create a Mission Arts Trail Guide that will be available by early summer — a postcard-sized map to guide visitors through the neighborhood offerings.

In the meantime, Mission Loc@l has created an 8-by-11 map of some of the galleries. Let us know what we’ve missed and we’ll add them.

This weekend there are at least four new shows opening, including a group show at Triple Base that begins a collaboration with the J. B. Blunk Residency in Inverness. Artist Xchange has a show based on characters from the artist’s imagination, Mission Comics and Art features Andy Ristaino, and Encantada features the comic Javier Hernandez, creator of “El Muerto. ” The Lab will host an all-ages art and music show.

On Saturday night there’s also the Mission Arts and Performance Project (MAPP), where people or businesses open up their spaces to artists and performers in an evening extravaganza that goes from late afternoon until after midnight. If you want to get a sense of MAPP, here’s a Mission Loc@l audio slide show from an earlier event — they happen every two months.  On Saturday, stop by first at the Red Poppy Art House, where it all began, and where it starts for families at 11 a.m. until late afternoon.