Richmond Art Center
Richmond Art Center

Richmond Art Center Receives CAC 2019-2020 Grants

The California Arts Council voted to award the Richmond Art Center an Arts Education Artists in Schools program grant for 2019-2020!

We are pleased to announce the Richmond Art Center was recently awarded three program grants from the California Arts Council totaling $47,000. This fall, we will provide free field trips to 1500 Richmond elementary students, guided tours of current exhibitions and art-creation workshops at the Richmond Art Center.

In addition, we will expand our in-school and after-school art programs in Richmond schools this upcoming school year. The awards are an indication of the quality of Richmond Art Center community programs and value of arts as an essential component in youth education.

Congratulations to the Arts in the Community team for their dedicated work! 

Richmond Art Center Announces Summer 2019 Exhibitions

Image: Top: Richard-Jonathan Nelson, Untitled, 2019. Courtesy of the Artist, Bottom: Ruth Tabancay, What’s In You and On You: Normal Flora and Pathogens (detail), 2018 Mary Jeys, Waving Hand, 2018, Dennis A. Giacovelli, Untitled (Self-Portrait), 2018. Second Class (E5) Engineman: Navy 1969- 71, Vietnam 1970.  

RICHMOND, CA – June 11, 2019 – The Richmond Art Center presents exhibitions opening June 11: Discontent with Brute Force Uploading, ABOUTFACE, Parts Unseen and the 2019 Members’ Show

Discontent with Brute Force Uploading
South Gallery
Exhibition Dates: June 11 – August 16, 2019

Richard-Jonathan Nelson’s solo exhibition examines how craft can be used to depict Black bodies in an imagined future. Through hybridizing traditional craft practices – like embroidery, weaving, and quilting – with digital art, Nelson’s work challenges the history of the mass media’s “uploading” of Black Diaspora as a monolithic culture, and reimagines the Black body as a place for futuristic progress. Nelson’s work draws reference from African-American low country herbalism, cybernetic Afrofuturism and his family’s history working with fabric.

About the ArtistRichard-Jonathan Nelson is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses textiles, video, and digital manipulation to create alternative worlds of speculative identity. His work is multi-layered, chromatically intense, and mixes images of the natural world with reference to hoodoo, queer culture, and Afrofuturism. Born in Savannah, GA (1987) and working in Oakland, CA, Nelson received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2017. His work has been exhibited at Southern Exposure, Embark Gallery, Root Division in San Francisco and Aggregate Space in Oakland.

Community Gallery
Exhibition Dates: June 11 – August 16, 2019

This large-group exhibition brings together Veteran self-portraits from the Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County’s ABOUTFACEprogram. Over 100 self-portraits will be presented, for the first time bringing together the numerous ABOUTFACE works created over multiple years of the program. Collectively the pieces form a ‘unit’ that represents the varied stories of Veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.

About the program: In 2015 the Arts and Culture Commission and the Physical Rehabilitation Service at Veterans Affairs Health Care in Martinez developed ABOUTFACE to improve the lives of California’s Veterans through arts programming. Based on the belief that individuals have the capacity to heal themselves, ABOUTFACE engages Veterans through painting workshops focused on artistic skill development and self-expression. The two-day workshops are team-taught by a teaching artist and a qualified therapist, with a Veteran coordinator present. Workshop activities include meditation, peer discussion, sketching each other, and painting a final self-portrait.

Parts Unseen
West Gallery
Exhibition Dates: June 11 – August 16, 2019
Reception: Saturday, June 8, 5-7pm

This exhibition brings together recent works by three artists who received the Spotlight Award for their work in the 2018 Members’ Show: Bill AbrightJennie Braman, and Ruth Tabancay. While working in disparate media, these artists share an interest in transfiguring and deconstructing the human form.

About the Artists: Bill Abright was introduced to clay by Bruce Duke at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton in the late 60’s. He completed his graduate degree at San Francisco State in 1974 working with Bud McKee, Stephen De Staebler, Joe Hawley, and David Kuraoka. Abright recently retired after 40 years teaching ceramics at the College of Marin. Jennie Braman is an artist and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is full-time faculty in Studio Art and Art History at Berkeley City College in Berkeley, CA, and served as Chair of the Art Program for the last decade. Braman’s current drawings investigate the nature of representation and the creative language of the body. Ruth Tabancay‘s passion for science led her to study bacteriology in college, and after a stint as a hospital laboratory technologist, she went on to medical school. After 11 years in private practice, she left medicine to study art. Her works refer largely to her previous studies in microbiology, anatomy, and geometry. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley; UC School of Medicine, San Francisco; and California College of the Arts.

2019 Members’ Show
Main Gallery
Exhibition Dates: June 11 – August 16, 2019

Each year, the Richmond Art Center invites our members to participate in our annual Members’ Show, which is showcased in the Main Gallery. One of the oldest and largest non-juried member exhibitions in the Bay Area, this tradition presents a wide variety of media, styles, and subject matter by aspiring, emerging, and established artists, many of whom are colleagues, teachers, and students of the Richmond Art Center.

Spring Exhibitions Press

We’re excited to share some of the press coverage of our current exhibitions:

Charles Desmarais, “M. Louise Stanley’s very contemporary history paintings,” San Francisco Chronicle, Datebook, Saturday, May 9, 2019

Charles Desmarais, “The Whale tries to save us,” San Francisco Chronicle, Datebook, Saturday, May 4, 2019

Janis Hashe, “Jos Sances’ Great White Whale” and “High Time to Get to the Sea”, East Bay Express, May 1-7, 2019

Renny Pritikin, “M. Louise Stanley @ The Richmond Art Center”, Square Cylinder, Published April 12, 2019

DeWitt Cheng, “Two RAC Shows Mix Humor, Critique”, The East Bay Monthly, April 2019

Enrico Deaglio, “Nel Ventre Della Balena USA” (“In the Belly USA’s Whale”), Il Venerdì di Repubblica (Rome, Italy), April 19, 2019

Kathy Chouteau, “Life size whale artwork makes big splash at Richmond Art Center”, Richmond Standard, Published April 3, 2019

Kathy Chouteau, “WCCUSD Student Art Show wows at Richmond Art Center”, Richmond Standard, Published March 31, 2019

Richmond Art Center Awarded California Arts Council “Arts Education: Extension” Grant

State funds support Richmond Art Center’s Art in the Community arts education programming

[Richmond, CA] – The California Arts Council announced its plans to award $13,500 to the Richmond Art Center as part of its Arts Education: Extension program.

As a segment of the California Arts Council Arts Education grant opportunities, Extension grants support arts education programs for PreK-12 students that operate after school and during the summer, on school sites, in artistic venues, and in community settings. The intention of the program is to offer young people sequential, hands-on training in artistic disciplines, including dance, literary arts, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.

The funding from the California Arts Council will support Art in the Community’s after school artist residencies in West Contra Costa County Unified School District (WCCUSD) elementary schools. The 20 week residencies will take place over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, in partnership with the district’s office of expanded learning.

The Richmond Art Center is one of 169 grantees chosen for the Arts Education: Extension program. The award was featured as part of a larger announcementfrom the California Arts Council.

“The Arts Education Extension program capitalizes on the potential to create arts learning opportunities for California’s young people whenever and wherever possible,” said Nashormeh Lindo, California Arts Council Chair. “Projects like the Richmond Art Center’s Art in the Community program allow for the positive impacts of arts engagement to continue undeterred.”

To view a complete listing of all Arts Education Extension grantees, visit

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About the Richmond Art Center: The Richmond Art Center is the largest visual arts center in the East Bay, delivering exciting arts experiences to young and old alike who reflect the diverse richness of our community. The Art Center features hands-on learning, well-equipped studios, Art in the Community programs and contemporary exhibitions in its galleries.

Every year, the Richmond Art Center serves thousands of students through classes and programs taught by professional artists, both onsite at the Art Center and at sites throughout Richmond. The Art Center’s four galleries mount rotating exhibitions that display the works of emerging and established Bay Area artists. Artists such as Richard Diebenkorn, Richard Misrach, Wanxin Zhang, Mildred Howard, Bella Feldman, Hung Liu, William Wiley, June Schwartz, and David Park have been showcased here.

The Richmond Art Center originated in 1936, when local artist Hazel Salmi, who worked for the WPA, traversed the streets of Richmond with a suitcase packed with art supplies, eager to teach art to anyone interested. Today, everything at the Art Center continues to breathe life into Salmi’s original vision: That within every person lives an artist.

About the California Arts Council: The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Larry Baza, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Juan Devis, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Donn K. Harris, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at


Visit the Richmond Art Center’s website for more information:

Contact for more information:

Julie Sparenberg
Communications Director

Donate Art Supplies to Help Artists Affected by the North Bay Fires

We are working with local artist Joani Share, Creative Sonoma, and the Napa Valley Arts Council to collect new and gently used art supplies to donate to artists who have lost their homes and studios in the recent wildfires in the North Bay.

We encourage you to bring any art supplies you would like to offer, including drawing pads, drawing paper, charcoal paper, oil paint, oil pastels, a variety of drawing pencils, and paint brushes. Printmaking materials, ceramics, tools, and fabric paint and textile arts materials are also welcome!


To donate

  • Bring your art supplies to the Front Desk during regular business hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
  • We will also be collecting art supplies at our Closing Reception, on Saturday, November 11 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm.
Joani shared her thoughts about the donation drive with us: “The news of the fires that spread so quickly through Napa and Sonoma were so upsetting to watch on the news. As an artist, I would be so distraught if my entire body of work and all my art supplies went up in flames in just a matter of minutes. I tried to put myself into the mind of the artists who lost everything in the inferno, so at the meeting of the Concord Art Association which was held a day after the fires began I asked my fellow members to bring new or gently used art supplies to our next meeting. I didn’t have a name yet for this campaign, but when I got home, it was  clear- it had to be called “stART over” – because that is what the artists who lost everything would be doing. I contacted the largest art organizations in that area, Creative Sonoma and the Napa Valley Arts Council, and both were happy for the help, and were willing to distribute the supplies to the artists in need.
I am just an artist, one of many in this community. I wanted to do something to help other artists besides giving cash (which I am sure is also needed), but having actual art materials on hand without having to go out to purchase them will allow the creative process to begin faster and help with the healing that will be a long haul.”

Bay Area Mural Festival Bringing 10 New Murals To Richmond

Richmond Art Center to host Closing Celebration on Sunday, October 8, 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

RICHMOND, CA — September 25, 2017 — The 2nd Annual Bay Area Mural Festival (BAMFest 2017) is bringing together 10 master muralists and 2 East Bay youth groups in the painting of 10 environmentally themed murals October 2-8 in Richmond, CA.

The festival will end with a Closing Celebration at Richmond Art Center Sunday, October 8, 2017 from 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm with community painting, performances by local musicians and dancers, kids activities, and bike tours of the new murals, which is free admission and open to the public. The murals will run along Macdonald Ave. in Downtown Richmond. More information on the closing celebration at

“Hosting the closing celebration of the Bay Area Mural Festival is a wonderful opportunity to welcome new faces and old friends to the Richmond Art Center,” says Ric Ambrose, Executive Director. “We welcome the opportunity to join with other nonprofits organizations and the Richmond community, in providing local and creative arts experiences, and celebrating our local artists.”

The Bay Area Mural Festival Closing Celebration is FREE ADMISSION and family-friendly: Sunday, October 8, 2017 from 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm at the Richmond Art Center, located at 2540 Barrett Ave, Richmond, California 94804. Live Painting, Kids Activities, Mural Tours and Live music by Mistica Ancestral, Monreal Latin Jazz, PachangaMama and more!

With support from the California Arts Council, La Peña Cultural Center has partnered with Los Pobres Artistas mural group, Richmond Art CenterEarth Team and other invited artists and organizations to produce the 2nd Annual Bay Area Mural Festival (BAMFest 2017) this fall.

Participating mural artists for BAMFest Richmond 2017:
Anti-eviction Mapping Project with Carla Wojczuk
Griffin One
John Wehrle
KeeNa Romano/ Agana/ Dime
Suaro Cervantes
Urban Aztec

Youth mural teams and leaders:
Earth Team with Malik Seneferu
Gateway To College Contra Costa College with Los Pobres Artistas Collective

Teo Doro mural.jpg

Pictured: One of thirteen murals created on the Berkeley-Oakland Border for BAMFest 2016. Artist: Teo Vidaingravita. Location: 3027 Adeline St. Berkeley, CA

The 2nd Annual Bay Area Mural Festival will use the mural arts to engage East Bay youth, local Bay Area artists and the Richmond community through beautification and placemaking activities. The festival will produce 8 professional murals and 2 youth designed murals to call attention to issues of environmental degradation, pollution and climate change. The project will engage 10 local California mural artists, 8 working on their own projects and 2 as teaching artists. The teaching artists will work with local youth in Richmond in hands-on arts training activities leading to the preparation and execution of the mural festival.

“BAMFest 2017 provides employment to California muralists as well as arts training opportunities and workshops for local youth that are often battling poverty and youth joblessness. Plus, it promotes cultural diversity and opportunities to foster more community engagement in the Bay Area,” said Sarah Siskin, BAMFest’s project coordinator and a member of Bay Area mural collective Los Pobres Artistas.

“We are excited to be partnering with the Richmond Arts Center and other local organizations to have as much of a positive impact as possible for the Richmond community, as well as participating youth, artists and local businesses,” she added.

La Peña Cultural center’s Co-Directors Natalia Neira and Bianca Torres issued a joint statement: “The Bay Area Mural Festival is an extension of La Peña’s mission to create peace and social justice through accessible cultural arts, education and community action. BAMFest 2017 is an opportunity to creatively respond to a global environmental crisis with very real local effects to the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

The California Arts Council awarded $36,900 to La Peña Cultural Center to fund the 2nd annual Bay Area Mural Festival (BAMFest 2017) as part of its Creative California Communities program.

“The transformative nature of the Creative California Communities program is so powerful. It’s thrilling to see grantees use the arts and creative expression to reinvigorate spaces, and by extension, area residents and visitors,” said California Arts Council Chair Donn K. Harris. “The potential a creative placemaking project like BAMFEST 2017 has to inspire and rejuvenate a community is truly immeasurable.”

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Last year the California Arts Council awarded La Peña funds to create the first Bay Area Mural Festival, which created 13 new murals in the Berkeley-Oakland border. Visit the BAMFEST website to see a map of the new murals, pictures, artist bios and more:

Fall Exhibitions at the Richmond Art Center

Fall Exhibitions at the Richmond Art Center

Three new exhibitions featuring works by Bay Area figurative artist Joan Brown, an environmentally themed group show, and a celebration of Richmond’s acclaimed Pogo Park will open to the public on September 12, 2017.

RICHMOND, CA — August 10, 2017 — The Richmond Art Center is celebrating the personal art of a Bay Area icon, and delves into studies of the environment both globally and locally this fall with three new exhibitions, opening September 12.  Joan Brown: In Living Color reveals the intimate and personal in the renderings of an influential Bay Area artist who never stopped drawing. Many of the works on exhibit come from the artist’s estate and have never been shown publicly. This is the first Bay Area exhibition that focuses on Brown’s works on paper in over 20 years.

Says Director of Exhibitions Jan Wurm, “At a time when the art world was heavily focused on abstraction and formalism, Joan Brown was unique in the exploration of the personal, the domestic, and the human relationship to nature.” Wurm adds, “The core of Joan Brown’s life and experiences became the subject of her art. Brown’s quest for a visual rendering of the experiences of an evolving life was a beacon particularly for women artists and became a model for generations of artists exploring identity and place.”

Earth, Wind, and Fire showcases nine contemporary artists — Kim Anno, Chester Arnold, Harry Clewans, Paul Kos, Jenny Odell, Clifford Rainey, Abel Rodriguez, Alison Saar, Joshua Solis. Working through intimate personal works, video, and large scale installation, these artists focus on issues of self, identity, place, and relationship to nature and the environment.

“In a time of great concern for our environment, the artists who are engaged by issues and questions of habitat, ecology, and personal practice move across many platforms to create a visual dialogue,” adds Wurm. “We are proud to enable that dialogue and foster a forum for expanded possibilities.”

The exhibition Pogo Park: A New Model for Community Transformation, presented in conjunction with Pogo Park’s 10th Anniversary, showcases the vision, concept and process of the project, coupled with models, stories, and voices of the people involved in transforming little-used Richmond city park into a safe and vibrant place that sparks children’s imagination and initiative. Says Ric Ambrose, Executive Director of the Richmond Art Center, “Pogo Park is about much more than playgrounds. Its unique approach combines two distinct but interrelated strategies: child development and community development.”

The Richmond Art Center will present several talks and events over the course of the Fall exhibition schedule. For those interested in Joan Brown: In Living Color, a panel of former students and artists will share lively recollections of those who knew and worked with Brown in Picturing a Life, on Saturday, September 23 at 2 pm. Printing Joan Brown, a presentation given by Don Farnsworth of Magnolia Editions on Saturday, October 21 at 2 pm, will examine the process of working with Joan Brown on Golden Gate.

On Saturday, October 14 at 2 pm, Picturing the Environment will feature artists exhibiting in the exhibition Earth Wind, and Fire, discussing working with identity and personal commitment to the environment.

The Opening Reception for the Fall exhibitions will take place on Saturday, September 9, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. This event is free and all are welcome.

For more information about the Fall exhibitions, programming, and other events, please visit the Richmond Art Center’s website: All events and exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Joan Brown, Model with Foot on Table, 1973, Acrylic, graphite, and ink on paper, Estate of Joan Brown courtesy Anglim Gilbert Gallery, San Francisco
Chester Arnold, Histories, Oil on linen, 2010

Watch This Great Float Design Class Video

For the past two years, The Richmond Art Center has worked in partnership with the 23rd Street Peace and Unity Cinco De Mayo Parade Float Committee, Richmond High School and Latina Center Staff, and RAC teaching artists. Generously funded by the San Pablo Koshland Fellows, in this 10-week project, teaching artists and each facilitated an intergenerational Cinco De Mayo Parade Float Design and Build class for parents and children that culminated in two distinct large-scale installations mounted on flatbed trucks that were a part of the Peace and Unity Parade on May 7, 2017.

Videographer Lydia Neri documented the process and parade, featuring our students and staff.

We Got the Grant!

We got the grant!

With support from the California Arts Council, the Richmond Art Center, through our Art in the Community program, will provide year-long visual art classes to six WCCUSD elementary school sites free of charge.

With this funding, 215 students in grades K-6 will use printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, animation, book arts, and textiles to solve problems, work together, and make meaning. Experienced practicing teaching artists will share the creative process, teach visual art skills, build community and nurture a love of learning.

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2540 Barrett Avenue
Richmond, CA 94804

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