Richmond Art Center Richmond Art Center

Exposure / Exposición


On June 16, 2020, the California Department of Public Health issued new, stricter guidance mandating that face coverings be worn state-wide in most public settings to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Photographer Ezly Torres’ most recent work uses the mask as a prop for performing characters inspired by the beauty and technique of classical paintings. At a moment when the face mask has become an emblem of the Covid-19 pandemic – signaling protection, community care, and also deepening political division – Torres’ self-portraits are a reminder that covering one’s face is a singular act. Her work asks us to consider the personal story lines that run beside the brutal collective narrative; as we all bear witness to California setting daily records for new Covid-19 infections.

El 16 de junio del 2020, el Departamento de Salud Pública de California emitió una nueva, y más estricta, guía que exige el uso de cubrebocas en todo el estado en la mayoría de los entornos públicos para reducir la propagación del Covid-19.

El trabajo más reciente de la fotógrafa Ezly Torres, utiliza la mascarilla como accesorio para personajes interpretativos inspirados en la belleza y la técnica de las pinturas clásicas. En un momento en la cual cubre-bocas se ha convertido en un emblema de la pandemia de Covid-19 (señala protección, cuidado comunitaria y también la profundización de la división política), los autorretratos de Torres son un recordatorio que cubriéndose la cara es un acto singular. Su trabajo nos pide que consideremos las historias personales que corren al lado de la brutal narrativa colectiva; mientras todos damos testimonio que California establece récords diarios de nuevos casos de Covid-19.



Ezly Torres is a Vallejo-based artist. Her interest in photography began as a child and in her early 20s she took digital photography courses with a local society in Nogales in Sonora, Mexico. Since moving to Vallejo in 2016, Torres has developed her practice centered around portraits that reference historical paintings to explore the construction of identity and possibilities for representation. Follow Torres on Instagram at @ilce_t_art

Ezly Torres es una artista con sede en Vallejo. Su interés en la fotografía comenzó cuando era niña y, cuando tenía poco más de 20 años, tomó cursos de fotografía digital con una sociedad local en Nogales, Sonora, México. Desde que se mudó a Vallejo en 2017, Torres ha desarrollado su práctica centrada en retratos que hacen referencia a pinturas históricas para explorar la construcción de la identidad y las posibilidades de representación. Sigue a Torres en Instagram en @ilce_t_art


RAC’s new initiative – the Online Project Space – was created in response to the multitude of ideas and new forms of expression we see artists tackling as they shelter-in-place due to Covid-19. The Online Project Space highlights new creative projects that represent how artists are adapting, responding and imagining during this period of self-isolation.

La nueva iniciativa de RAC – el Online Project Space (Espacio de proyecto en línea)– fue creada en respuesta a la multitud de ideas y nuevas formas de expresión que vemos a los artistas abordar mientras se refugian en lugar debido a COVID-19. El Online Project Space destaca nuevos proyectos creativos que representan cómo los artistas se están adaptando, respondiendo e imaginando durante este período de aislamiento.

Three Artists in the Studio

Every year Richmond Art Center awards three artists with a Spotlight Award to have their work featured in our galleries. These artists in 2020 are Laura Kamian McDermott, Steven Morales and Leslie Plato Smith. While the exhibition of their work is currently on hold due to COVID-19, presented here are three videos that offer an opportunity to meet our Spotlight Artists virtually, see them at work in their studios during shelter-in-place and learn a little about their creative processes.

Jagged Skylines of Car Keys

Laura Kamian McDermott is a textile artist who uses labor-intensive techniques to make work that insists on the value of creative labor in an era that shows little respect for such a pursuit. Inherent in her work is the belief in the power of the handmade to address social ills, support mental and community health, and bring out some of humanity’s more positive traits. Through her woven, knitted, and embroidered techniques – meticulously studied and executed – she produces high-quality textiles. McDermott studied Painting at Reed College and Textiles at San Francisco State University. She was born in Oakland and currently resides in Richmond.

Separation 2020

Separation 2020 is the title of the work Steven Morales has been developing since shelter-in-place started. Morales’ says of this time of quarantine, “What permanent changes will evolve from this long, temporary period of separation is what we will be experiencing for years to come. Will this year mark the beginning of a new and profound way of living or will we go back to the way things were before?” Richmond-based Morales is a practicing architect whose creative interests also include photography and collage. Many of his collage works incorporate construction materials such as joint compound, wood and sheetrock along with paper and occasionally house paint.

Black, White and Pink

Educated at UC Santa Barbara, Tulane, and UC Berkeley, Leslie Plato Smith spent much of her career as Associate Vice-Chancellor of Governmental Relations for City College of San Francisco. Highlights from her career include receiving a national award for bringing together 60 different art departments to create 125 life size statues to visually show how budget cuts negatively impact students and to fight for public education, and exhibiting at the European Cultural Centre’s Venice Biennale exhibition. Plato Smith’s grandfather was born on the Choctaw Reservation and her orphaned grandmother was born to immigrant parents from Denmark and Sweden. Migration, immigration and resettlement are key themes that resonate through Oakland-based Plato Smith’s creative practice and professional work.



RAC’s new initiative – the Online Project Space – was created in response to the multitude of ideas and new forms of creative expression we see artists tackling as they shelter-in-place due to COVID-19. The Online Project Space will highlight new artist projects that represent how artists are adapting, responding and imagining during this period of self-isolation.

Portrait of a Neighborhood


During the COVID-19 pandemic photographers around the world – many using mobile phones – are sharing quarantine images online; documenting how life has changed while also creating a global sense of togetherness during this difficult time.

Normally a textile artist, during COVID-19 Richmond-artist Colleen Haraden-Gorski has adopted Hipstamatic’s TinType iPhone App as a new medium. Through technology that is accessible, immediate and shareable she photographs her Richmond Annex neighbors and friends as a way of checking up on them while keeping a safe social distance. The body of work that has emerged using the black and white filter captures a sense of instantaneous pause and rewind, asking us to consider “now” as a moment in history, already removed from the noise and color of life as we knew it.

Over fifty photographs are featured here in this slideshow and more will be added over the course of the online project.





A local Richmond artist, Colleen Haraden-Gorski’s textile art practice focuses on place and shapes – maps, environment, historical ecology, water, hazards, and social justice issues around these themes. Her background and career in the earth sciences has included geomorphology and paleoseismology, geographic information systems (GIS), water resources, climate change impacts, and historical ecology – these emphases rely greatly on observation and visual representation. Her textile art work explores the intersection where history and geography collide. Through the lens of geomorphology – the study of the origin and evolution of topographic features and their responses to change – be it rivers, faults, or humans – she uses both current and historic maps to visualize pre-urbanism and future conditions, such as climate change impacts. Haraden-Gorski’s contribution to RAC’s exhibition Right Here, Right Now explored the impacts of sea-level rise in Richmond. She created a textile piece to inform the community of the higher risk we face from sea level rise, in particular, overlaying areas of sea-level rise layers with areas of social vulnerability, communities with limited means to prepare and respond to hazards like flooding. Currently, Haraden-Gorski is developing a series of work around climate change, sea-level rise, and the melting polar ice caps. Follow this ongoing project on Instagram at @colleen_haraden_studio and @chlojomama.


RAC’s new initiative – the Online Project Space – was created in response to the multitude of ideas and new forms of creative expression we see artists tackling as they shelter-in-place due to COVID-19. The Online Project Space will highlight new artist projects that represent how artists are adapting, responding and imagining during this period of self-isolation.


Over and Under (wish you could be here)


“This exhibition is informed by the interchange of ideas and material, the crisscrossing of bodies and objects, and the weaving of histories and personal narratives. Over 200 artists submitted artwork for consideration; 16 were ultimately selected whose work resonated with these ideas. Much like warp and weft threads interlace to form a visible pattern through the weaving process, each work hints at deeper implications sitting just beneath the surface.” – Kevin B. Chen, Juror

In mid-March 2020, staff at Richmond Art Center had just hung the last artwork for the exhibition Over and Under when COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders caused the abrupt closure of the galleries. Tools were quickly put away, lights adjusted and everyone went home. For the past eight weeks this exhibition has had an unperceived existence. Given the evolving schedule for hosting visitors to Richmond Art Center, we have decided to present Over and Under as an online project. We dearly hope audiences will eventually encounter the remarkable artwork in Over and Under in person. However, until then this web space serves to turn an exhibition, that for two months has existed only as a thought experiment, into a known quantity.




Pilar Agüero-EsparzaRic Ambrose, Tamera Avery, Megan Broughton, Tyrell Collins, Roya Ebtehaj, Sheila Ghidini, Annette Goodfriend, Xandra Ibarra, Lisa Jetonne, Henrik Kam, Maureen Langenbach, Ifra Mahmood, Katie McCann, Sarah Player Morrison, Susan Zimmerman

Click here to view the artwork list


RAC’s new initiative – the Online Project Space – has been created in response to the multitude of ideas and new forms of creative expression we see artists tackling as they shelter-in-place due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Online Project Space will highlight new artist projects that represent how artists are adapting, responding and imagining during this period of self-isolation.

Under Shelter: Jos Sances


“Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.” Arundhati Roy, The Pandemic is a Portal, April 3, 2020

Jos Sances’ recent work created during shelter-in-place shows the intersection of the COVID-19 outbreak with his ongoing investigation into the environmental crisis. Presented here in RAC’s online project space is a video based on three new scratchboard drawings. The work explores the coronavirus pandemic as a new type of American crisis illustrated through the clash of values that have preceded these maybe not-so-unprecedented times.


Chinese Hoax, 2020, Video, 6 mins 35 secs



Jos Sances is a Berkeley-based printmaker, muralist and community collaborator. He creates narrative-based works that address his political concerns, reflect on the natural world, and examine the human condition. Sances attended Montserrat School of Visual Art in Beverly, Massachusetts before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1976. He founded Alliance Graphics, a successful, union screenprint shop in 1989, and co-founded Mission Grafica at the Mission Cultural Center in 1980. In 2010 and 2016 the Library of Congress acquired 490 prints from Sances which represented a broad overview of his printmaking. Sances has painted eleven murals at the Oakland Coliseum, completed a screen printed tile mural at the Sixteenth Street BART station in San Francisco, and recently a 1600 sq.ft. tile mural at the Shadelands Sports Complex in Walnut Creek. He has had solo exhibitions at the Alternative Museum, New York City; the D. King Gallery, Berkeley; and the Fetterly Gallery at the Vallejo Art Center. Sances is proudly a founding and lifelong member of the Great Tortilla Conspiracy. His life-size scratchboard drawing of a sperm whale was featured in RAC’s exhibition Here is the Sea in 2019. Sances is represented by Vessel Gallery.


Some Recent Press: East Bay Express, Jos Sances’ Great White Whale


RAC’s new initiative – the Online Project Space – has been created in response to the multitude of ideas and new forms of creative expression we see artists tackling as they shelter-in-place due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Online Project Space will highlight new artist projects that represent how artists are adapting, responding and imagining during this period of self-isolation.

The Future is Fluid

The Future is Fluid

Non-Binary Portraits by Chloe Aftel

The Future is Fluid is an exhibition of Richmond-based photographer Chloe Aftel’s ongoing series of genderqueer portraits. Since 2012, Aftel has been taking portraits of transgender people, each set in a meaningful place, to give visibility to the non-binary community, while also creating space for audiences to reflect on their own gender identity and evolving sense of individuality. Aftel says, “I began this series of work because I believe we are not binary and that we need to understand ourselves as more nuanced individuals whose humanity does not fit neatly into one box or another.”

The Future is Fluid will ask the question: How does the bodily art of ‘becoming’ affect everyone? Through diverse and multi-generational portraits of non-binary people taken in private and public spaces across America, the exhibition honors expansive and intersectional forms of gender identity.

About the Artist: With a strong focus on narrative photography and an MFA from the University of Southern California in film production, Chloe Aftel specializes in still and motion storytelling. She has shown her work in the Month of Photography Los Angeles, Annenberg Space for Photography, and Big L.A. Portrait Gallery in Grand Park. Awards she has received include Critical Mass 2016, Lens Culture Portrait Award, PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch, and Fuji Student Photographer of the Year. Aftel’s work is in the collections of the Oakland Museum of California and Detroit Institute of Arts.

Image: Chloe Aftel, Rain, 2013

Right Here, Right Now, Richmond

Exhibition Dates: December 17, 2019 – March 6, 2020
Reception: Saturday, January 25, 2-5pm More info…
Artist Talk: Saturday, February 29, 3-5pm More info…

Right Here, Right Now, Richmond looks at the excellent and risk-taking new work being made in our city. Works in the exhibition include painting, fiber art, sculpture, mixed media, photography and digital art; and together represent the breadth and depth of creative practices and ideas Richmond artists are exploring.

The exhibition will be on view in the Richmond Art Center’s Community Gallery from December 7, 2019 through to March 6, 2020. An exhibition reception will be held on Saturday, January 25, 2-5pm.

Participating Artists: Amber Avalos, Jenny Balisle, Gay Boynton, Clive Brown, Christy Chan, Martha Chong, Tiffany Conway, Camilo DeCalisto Price, Adrian Delgado, Waldo Esteva, Frederick Franklin, Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez, Colleen Haraden-Gorski, Em Kettner, Jacinto Mingura, Steven Morales, Richard Muro Salazar, Rich Quade, Marva Reed, Roz Ritter, Tahirah Robinson, Julio Rodriguez, Victoria Sawicki, Karen Seneferu, Malik Seneferu, Laurel Shear, Gladys Vasquez, Irene Wibawa, David Zarovny

This exhibition is presented in partnership with NIAD Art Center (551 23rd Street, Richmond). NIAD will present additional work by artists Laurel Shear and Irene Wibawa from Right Here, Right Now from December 7, 2019 through to January 23, 2020. NIAD’s reception will be on Saturday, December 14, 1-4pm.


Image: Julio Rodriguez, Seventeenth 1 (detail), 2019, Courtesy of the Artist

Art of the African Diaspora



EXHIBITION at the Richmond Art Center
January 14 – March 13, 2020

OPEN STUDIOS at venues throughout the Bay Area (details published in the Art of the African Diaspora Guide 2020)
Weekend 1: Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1
Weekend 2: Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8
Weekend 3: Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15

SATELLITE EXHIBITIONS at venues throughout the Bay Area (details published in the Art of the African Diaspora Guide 2020)
Throughout January, February and March

SPECIAL EVENTS at the Richmond Art Center
Achievement Awardees’ Talk: Saturday, January 25, 12:30-2pm More info…
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 25, 2-5pm More info…
Revelation & Rebirth – The History & Practice of Collecting African-American Art: Saturday, February 8, 12:30-2pm More info and RSVP…
Closing Party: Friday, March 13, 3-5pm More info…


Art of the African Diaspora is the longest running event of its kind in the Bay Area. This year it brings together over 150 artists of African descent, showcasing their work at the Richmond Art Center, as well as in open studios and satellite exhibitions at thirty different venues across ten Bay Area cities.

This exhibition was founded as The Art of Living Black in 1997 by artists Jan Hart-Schuyers and Rae Louise Hayward after their realization that Black artists were not being represented by galleries in any significant way. Hart-Schuyers and Hayward developed The Art of Living Black to present the work of emerging and established African-American artists, introduce them to new audiences, and build a creative community of artists and art lovers. Tragically Hart-Schuyers passed away in 1998 and Hayward died in 2008.

This year the Steering Committee of artists that continues to produce the event announced its new name: Art of the African Diaspora. The Steering Committee remain dedicated to the vision of Hart-Schuyers and Hayward, but feel the time has come for the event to have a name that will allow it the autonomy to grow and reflect a new era.

2020 Artistic Achievement Awardees: KaliMa Amilak, Zoë Boston, and Abi Mustapha More info… 

2021 Artistic Achievement Awardees: Tiffany Conway, Val Kai, and Fan Lee Warren

Participating Artists (organized by first name): a. d. floyd, Abi Mustapha, Ajuan Mance, AkeemRaheem, Akili Simba, Alix J Malgorie, Andrea McCoy Harvey, Angela Douglas, Anna W. Edwards, AnttonioDesigns aka TheCounselor&Creator, Arthur Norcome, Ashlei Reign, Atiba Sylvia Thomas, Bertrell Smith, Bill A. Dallas, BJ VanBuren, Brianna Mills, Candi Farlice, Carla Golder, Cedric Brown, Celise, Chanell Stone, Charles Blackwell, Chuck Harlins, Claude Lockhart Clark, Damon Powell – Artist & Theologian, Dana King, Dawn Rudd, Derrick Bell, Diamela Cutino, Doitshā, Donna Gatson, Donna Meke’da Bradley, Double R, Douglas Doss, Dulama LeGrande, Elishes Cavness III, Elmarise Owens, Ester M. Armstrong, Evelyn Hicks, Fan Warren, Floyd Brown, Gary Collins, Gene Dominique, Genesse McGaugh, Grandma’s Hands, Gwendolyn Reed, H Lenn Keller, Halisi Noel-Johnson, Horace Washington, Idris Hassan, Irene Bee Kain, J.B. Broussard, Jabali Sawicki, Jae Me Bereal, James Knox, James Moore, Jasmine Young, Jazmyne Woffard-Jones, Jennifer A Lockette, Jennifer Inez Ward, Jessica Keener, Jim Dennis, Jimi Evins, Joseph Robinson, JPosh Aubry (Janina), Julee Richardson, Justice Renaissance, KaliMa Amilak, Karen Smith, Karin Turner – karinsArt, Karla Higgins, Kaya Fortune, Kelvin Curry, Kimberly V. Johnson, Kumi Rauf, Kwadwo Otempong, Latisha Baker, Lawrence Buford, Leon Kennedy, Lois Williams, Lorraine Bonner, Lottye Clayton, Louise Terry Eubanks, Maalak, Malik Seneferu, Marguerite Browne, Marif, Mark Sublett, Marsha Carter, Marva Reed, Melanin Buford, Mianta McKnight, Michael Johnson, Michelle Tompkins, Mildred Thompson, Mitchell Howard, Mychal, Nannette Y. Harris-Jones, Naomi Floyd, Nedra T. Williams, Olaitan Valerie, Orin Carpenter, Orlonda Uffre, Osaze Seneferu, Ozell Hudson Jr, Pam Jackson, Pat Patterson, Patricia Daigre McGee, Paula Vaughan, Pete Dent, Rais, Randolph Belle, Randy Babb, Raven Harper, Raymond L. Haywood, Renata Gray, Ron Calime, Ron Moultrie Saunders, Ronnie Sampson, Sean Papillion, Shanju, Shonna McDaniels, Stephanie Thames, Stephen Bruce, Steve Hurst, Susan McGuire, TheArthur Wright (SiGiDiArt), Thomas Robert Simpson, Thomas Tandy, Tiffany Conway (Project Get Free), Tomye, Toshia Christal, Travis “Trav Lyrics” Keeton, Val Kai, Valerie Brown-Troutt, Vaughn Filmore, Virginia Jourdan, Wanda Sabir, Will Johnson, WilParish, Xan Blood Walker, Yasmin Sayyed, Yolanda Holley, Yolanda ThaSun Patton, Zoë Boston, Zwanda Cook

Art of the African Diaspora is made possible with generous support from the Richmond Arts and Culture Commission’s Neighborhood Public Art (NPA) Mini-Grant Program; and California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Are you an artist participating in Art of the African Diaspora? Click here for information and important dates

Image: KaliMa Amilak, Regal Attendance, 2019. Courtesy of the Artist

Rich Reality

Rich Reality

Posters by Rich City Youth

This exhibition features work by young artists who participated in a five-week free printmaking class at the Richmond Art Center this summer. The class was run by youth, for youth, and with youth.

Our course introduced students to silkscreen/printmaking with a social justice emphasis. Students were introduced to the basic materials and techniques of silkscreen printing, while also being guided in choosing a theme that is related to community, culture, social justice, and/or a societal issue. Class participants learned to think critically about the world they live in, and actively work towards changing it through silkscreen printmaking. The overall goal of the class was to help inspire future generations of Richmond artists to be socially aware of who they are, and become positive contributors and advocates for their community. We emphasized peer-to-peer learning, so the artists will have the capacity to pass along the skills they obtained through the course.

– Eddy Chacón, Marvin Parra, Francisco Rojas and Daniel Cervantes, Class Facilitators

Image: Victor Grigg, Problem Child, 2019

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Richmond Art Center
2540 Barrett Avenue
Richmond, CA 94804-1600


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