City Studio

Youth. Art. Activate.

Now in its 16th year, San Francisco Art Institute’s award-winning City Studio program engages underserved youth in their own neighborhoods through sequenced art classes that are both rigorous and joyous. Taught by working artists who create alongside the students and extend its reach and impact through a range of organizational partnerships, City Studio nurtures a sense of self, encouraging young artists to find their voice, strengthening their conceptual thinking and foundational skills, and inspiring investment in a holistic creative life. 

Despite studies proving conclusively that underserved and at-risk youth benefit significantly from arts education and arts-rich experiences, ongoing budget constraints at public school's limit—and in some cases entirely severe—access. Particularly in California, a leader in innovation, this lack of art exposure and instruction leaves many young people ill-equipped for today’s job market. The arts and creative sectors alone are significant employers, and the value of training in the arts reaches well beyond those areas, as well, translating into preparation for a range of other fields. Art is also a powerful medium for finding your place in the world and making your contributions. Through City Studio's responsive, collaborative and inter-generational approach, young people of all ages have worked side by side in afterschool programs, designed and created public murals, and exhibited their work in real-life art galleries and historic artists' homes and studios.


For more information, visit Check City Studio's Instagram or Facebook for details.

Current community partners include Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, the Exploratorium, Haight Street Arts Center, Chinatown Historical Society of America, SOMArts, Collective Action Studio, Project Artivism, 500 Capp Street, New School SF,  Boys and Girls Club Beacon Program at Carver Elementary, and Malcolm X and SF Park and Rec's Harvey Milk Center for the Arts for their McKinley Elementary after-school program and the Mission Arts Center.

Thanks to the Institute for Museums and Library Services for their recent grant to City Studio and Project Artivism, California ArtsCouncil, and 500 Capp Street for their continued support of our efforts to create valuable programming for Bay Area youth.

ARTIVATE: Dancing on the Roof!

At the Chinese Historical Society of America

This semester Artivate is based in Chinatown, examining San Francisco Chinatown's historical and present-day musical groups, cultural and social justice impact, and contributions to the neighborhood's social fabric.  Students and lead artists will create a series of original silkscreen posters, public banners, and digital projections that will be used to highlight these historical and present-day bands in Chinatown and their lasting impact on their community. Artivate's teens meet on Sundays from 1-4 and is a collaboration between City Studio and the Chinese Historical Society of America, Collective Action Studio, Project Artivism, and the Haight Street Art Center.  Taking place on Saturday, May 21 both programs will be live printing and creating community. The final event of the semester will be a live printing event at CHSA's Vinyl from the Vault series on Friday, May 20.  We thank SFAI alums Chris Treggiari and Cate Nelson for their efforts with the teens and Norman Fong and Jest Jammin, Arthur Dong, Kelly Harris, Sarah Rosedale, Janet and Ed Chen, Son Of Paper, and so many more! Check out the photos.


At the same time, younger kids will participate in the Peace Movements program at Cameron House.  Through a grant from the California Art Council, Chinatown youth 7-12 are studying martial arts and creating tiger paper mache masks and tiger-themed prints celebrating the Year of the Tiger. This semester will conclude with a public performance by the youth in their tiger masks and a special participatory public printmaking community event at the Chinese Historical Society of America on Sunday, May 22.

I hope you join us at some of this dynamic programming!

New partner: the New School of San Francisco

A few blocks from SFAI is the New School of San Francisco, a tuition-free public school designed in partnership with local educators, parents, and community leaders. City Studio lead artist Rebecca Kaufman has been hired to teach the middle school art classes at the New School, where inquiry, equity, and personalized learning are at the heart of how our students learn, grow, and thrive. See some of the fantastic work she has been doing with her young charges. Check out the photos. 

Partnerships, New Projects, and Opportunities to Sign Up

City Studio is thrilled to create more programming with Park and Rec's Mission Arts Center and Harvey Milk Center for the Arts. Just a few blocks from the David Ireland House in the Mission District, City Studio's new partnership at SF Park and Rec's Mission Art Center continues their successful teen ceramics class taught by Steph Kudisch on Tuesday afternoons. 


The Mission Art Center will also host a mural workshop on Friday afternoons. Behind the Wall, The Process and Creation of Murals taught by Oscar Lopez (sign up is available now in the spring edition of SF Park and Rec catalog online.) 

Also, this spring, the Mission Art Center, City Studio, and the David Ireland house are presenting a SPRING BREAK WEEKLONG INTENSIVE  for teens looking to explore conceptual art and performance. The performing Artists in Residence at 500 Capp Street will participate along with the house's artist guides and lead artists from City Studio.   Interested teens can sign up online here!.  Dates are March 28 – April 1 and will conclude with a community performative event open to all.


We are just wrapping up a successful eight-week residency at the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts with alums Vita Hewitt and Angelina Manriquez in collaboration with ten 5th graders in a Mindfulness Storytelling workshop for students in the McKinley after-school program. Students explored mindfulness practices and kinesthetic movement to help inform them of our bodies' space while being aware of those around them.

And City Studio is excited to announce a two-week portfolio workshop happening this summer at the Mission Clubhouse for middle schoolers looking for help with their applications to Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. Sign-up will be available online in the summer Park and Rec catalog. 


Steph Kudisch returns as our lead artist teaching ceramics again at long-term partner SOMArts on Friday afternoons 4-6 pm starting February 26. (all welcome!) Sign up here.

City Studio is thrilled to return to the Boys and Girls Beacon Program at Carver Elementary. Rebecca Kaufman works with Sydney Dowd and the outstanding youngsters in two fun-filled and creative artmaking classes.

Lastly, have you heard SFAI is talking with USF about merging in the summer or fall of 2022? 

We don't expect significant changes at City Studio, and we have long been fans of the social justice and activist work by the faculty affiliated with USF. Current faculty Jenifer K Wofford and Sergio de la Torre come to mind, as does the late long-term influential faculty member and social justice activist Richard Kamler.  

We have been lucky to have already begun working with some of the USF students as we had two wonderful interns (Amanda Heauser-Cairers and Kelly Velasco) during the fall and have hired them to continue to work with us at CHSA in various capacities! 


Check back for the last Remote Life-Drawing episodes and Live Life Drawing, hopefully coming soon! 

Thank you all for reading and supporting us.