sfai news

May 12, 2009

SFAI Awarded $68,000 by the National Endowment for the Arts for City Studio Youth Programs

In order to support SFAI’s continuum of City Studio programs for thirteen- to nineteen-year-old Bay Area youths, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), through its program Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth, has awarded the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) $68,000—one of the NEA’s largest awards in the arts-and-education category.

The continuum of programs that makes up SFAI’s City Studio includes the Young Artists Program (YAP), the PreCollege Program, and the Year-round Program. The Young Artists Program (YAP) is a summer intensive on SFAI’s historic Chestnut Street campus for artists between the ages of thirteen and fifteen (13–15). It offers a focused but fun environment for exploring new techniques and developing artistic expertise in photography, drawing, and painting.

A five-week, five-college-credit course of study, the PreCollege Program is especially designed for those artists who have completed the tenth grade, but who have not yet started college. The program introduces participants to the general atmosphere of an art school—to the broad range of techniques, concepts, and debates that make up the contemporary art scene. Together with faculty from around the world, student participants help create an authentic artistic community engaged in interdisciplinary thinking and contemporary studio practice. Since its inception in 2003, the PreCollege Program has hosted more than 200 students from across the US and abroad.

The newest of the three, the Year-round Program provides free arts instruction to underserved teens at three different studios across the Bay Area (in Oakland, Richmond, and San Francisco). Framed by a series of interdisciplinary classes taught by SFAI faculty members and supported by case workers and staff from partner youth-development agencies, the two-year program engages students in visual arts–based inquiry. In order to meet the contact hours per semester required for high-school credit, classes meet twice a week (and bimonthly on Saturdays) for fourteen weeks, together with daily attendance at a three-week summer intensive on SFAI’s historic Chestnut Street campus. A critical component of the success of the program is its integration into the communities in which its participants live, partnering with local school districts, youth development agencies, and businesses (for example, the East Bay Asian Youth Center in the San Antonio neighborhood of Oakland, Horizons Unlimited in the Mission District in San Francisco, and Opportunity West in the Iron Triangle neighborhood of Richmond). At the end of the Year-round Program, students are provided the opportunity to matriculate, on scholarship, into the PreCollege Program.

Sources of Support

The May 2009 NEA award of $68,000 represents the second NEA award for SFAI’s continuum of City Studio programs, the first being an award of $40,000 in 2007.

In addition to the National Endowment for the Arts, SFAI’s continuum of City Studio programs is supported by the Surdna Foundation, the Comer Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Omnia Foundation, and the Adobe Foundation Fund at Community Foundation Silicon Valley.