New Exhibit "Fresh Starts" Coming to the Walt Disney Family Museum

September 16, 2018

The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco will be offering a new exhibition, “Fresh Starts,” running Sept. 26, 2018 through Jan. 7, 2019. The exhibition will feature art created by youth in juvenile detention centers across the San Francisco Bay Area.


The art was prepared over a four-month period as museum educators visited these centers to instruct in subjects such as storytelling, storyboarding, animation, painting, collage, and additional artistic techniques. This process was intended to help these youth find their identity in artistic skills, rather than in their past mistakes.


“Fresh Starts” | © Walt Disney Family Museum


The idea behind “Fresh Starts” was inspired by the story of Mickey Mouse’s creation. Before Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse, he had a character named Oswald the Lucky Rabbit when he worked with Charles Mintz, a producer and the distributor of Disney’s Alice Comedies. Mintz was in negotiation with Universal Pictures about bringing new characters, leading Mintz to sign an agreement with Universal for 26 animated shorts starring Disney’s brand new character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.


After months of disagreements and issues, Walt Disney ultimately boarded a train from New York back to Los Angeles, having lost the rights to his beloved Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.


 © Sam Howzit/Flickr


Out of this failure came the birth of Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney created a sketch of Mickey on the train ride back to Los Angeles. The creation of this character served as a “fresh start” for Walt Disney after the devastating loss of Oswald. The young artists from the juvenile detention centers found inspiration in Walt Disney’s story of finding great success through failure.




Ms. Evette Ascani, a teacher in the San Mateo Court Schools, recalled that one of the students participating in this museum art program told her, “I want to thank you for bringing the Disney Museum teachers here. I feel so alive when I am doing artwork and the good feeling lasts for a few days. Thank you!”


Antonia Dapena-Tretter, the School and Outreach Manager at the museum, stated that she was “...thrilled to be able to partner with these centers and the young people they serve, all of whom are men and the vast majority of whom are people of color. It’s exciting to see their stories come alive on the canvas.”


 Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco | © Evelyn Morehead


“Fresh Starts” is the third of the museum’s annual Community Access Exhibitions. These exhibitions were inspired by museum founder Diane Disney Miller “who championed access to the arts as a vital component of the museum's commitment to community engagement.”. On Sept. 25, the exhibit will premiere with a private artist reception before opening to the public on Sept. 26. It will run until Jan.7 2019. Admission to the exhibit is open to the public and free of charge and it will be located in the lower lobby of the museum. General admission tickets to the rest of the museum can be purchased at $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students and $15 for youth. Be sure not to miss this uplifting and inspirational exhibit coming soon to the Walt Disney Family Museum!


Where: Walt Disney Family Museum (104 Montgomery Street in the Presidio, San Francisco, CA 94129)

Dates: Sept. 26 2018 through Jan. 7 2019

Exhibit Hours: 10am-6pm (last entry 4:45), closed Tuesdays

Cost: $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, $15 for youth


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