Skip to main content

Free Art, Design, and Museum Resources

A collection of free resources pertaining to art, art history, graphic design, and museum studies.

Introduction

Using These Resources

This guide is a collection of free, practical tools for anyone with an interest in art, graphic design, or museology - whether you want to examine a famous artwork up-close, or just need some images for your big presentation!  The resources on this page have been created and generously shared by artists and workers who want to empower others to access and create work without financial barriers.  Please respect the wishes of those who share their content, and cite and attribute works to them as specified on their website.  Think critically about how you use images of people to illustrate your own work or narratives, and adhere to ethical guidelines when they are presented to you.

Common Copyright Terms

  • Public Domain - these refer to works with no individual intellectual property or ownership laws.  These may be in the Public Domain for reasons including the expiration of previous coverage by copyright laws, or because copyright laws do not apply to a particular work.
  • Creative Commons - Creative Commons licenses allow you to share your work and make it freely accessible, while still allowing you to maintain restrictions around what the work is used for or how you are credited.  There are a variety of Creative Commons license types.
  • Copyleft - Copyleft licenses allow every user of a product (e.g., GIMP software) to freely change or redistribute that product, on the condition that the newly shared product is also able to be freely changed or redistributed.
  • Open - broadly speaking, content which can be freely accessed, remixed, and shared.
  • Open Access - an international movement advocating for scholarly research to be made freely available online, and without most copyright restrictions.  Watch this video for more.
  • Open Source - content which can be freely shared and modified, and which also adheres to a specific set of ten principles.

For more in-depth advice on copyright, contact our Scholarly Communications Librarian, Charlotte Roh, or any of our Copyright Specialists.

Graphic Design Resources

Graphic Design Tools

The resources listed below are suitable for download and use on your own personal computers.  Gleeson Library also has a range of computers you can use, as well as iPads and laptops available for checkout.  The Reference Lab on the first floor of Gleeson Library includes iMac computers with iMovie 10, iPhoto 9, and GarageBand 10 available for use.  Adobe Creative Suite software is available in the GL220 iMac Lab on the second floor.  These can be used on a walk-up basis when the iMac Lab is not reserved for classes.

USF Students can also acquire a free license for Microsoft products including Microsoft Office 365 and Visio through the ITS eStore; as well as use other computer labs on campus.

Inclusive Stock Photos

Joyful and authentic representation is important.  Here, find a selection of high-resolution, non-tokenizing photos of people from different cultures and communities, depicted in their everyday lives.

Digital Museum Collections

High Resolution Art Images

These are just some of the art and cultural institutions worldwide which are moving towards making their digital collections available for use online.  Examine the details of a favourite artwork, or download media for use in your own scholarly work, presentations, or artistic enjoyment.  Licensing restrictions vary from one institution or image to another, so please be mindful of terms of use.

Free Museum Tickets

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Take advantage of the many Art Galleries, Museums, or Cultural Institutions you can visit with free or reduced admission throughout the San Francisco Bay Area!