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Superheroes and Princesses Make Art During Skeletonfest

More than 300 people from all across Richmond and the East Bay, including superheroes, witches, princesses and bumblebees, came to make art and celebrate the multicultural traditions of Halloween and Day of the Dead at Skeletonfest on Saturday, Oct 25, 2014.

The Richmond Art Center first hosted Skeletonfest in 2009 and it’s been a wildly popular annual event ever since. And this year was no different.

Kids, parents, grandparents and community members sat side-by-side and spent a fun afternoon coloring and constructing paper masks, learning about Mexican paper cutting and making cool paper creations, designing movable skeletons and decorating sugar skulls with colored frostings and adornments (a crowd favorite)!

Meet Sue, an Art in the Community Hero

Sue Collins
Art in the Community Program
Volunteer since 2013

What do you like most about Richmond Art Center?

“The people. I just love the Education Department. I attended the Upcycle event last year and was just so impressed by how friendly everyone is and how thoughtful they are about the types of activities they set up for the kids to do. I really look forward to the events here.”

Sue Collins found the Richmond Art Center by chance. A former Bay Area resident, Sue eventually moved to Massachusetts where she raised a family and maintained careers as a teacher and graphic designer. Recently, Sue and her husband decided to move back to the East Bay. Once settled, she attended a class at Richmond Art Center taught by Alan Tarbell that “really got me motivated again on my own path as an artist.”

Art in the everyday: the Richmond Art Center’s mission to make everyone an artist

Sean Pyles from Radio Free Richmond stopped by to learn more about our programs. Following is the article he wrote, you can see the original posting here.

by Sean Pyles

Chris Finch didn’t expect to become an expert jeweler when she first entered the Richmond Art Center. Finch, a local painter, just had a simple repair to make to a single bracelet, and so she signed up for a metal working jewelry class. Without knowing it, Finch was following the intended path for everyone who enters the RAC. Several jewelry and enameling classes later, Finch has joined the canon of hundreds of local artists who have passed through the RAC since its doors first opened 78 years ago. In the hopes of inspiring artistry among the everyday, the RAC has worked to give everyone — no matter their background or artistic ability — a chance at creative self-expression.

Back in 1936, before the Richmond Art Center had a building to call home, Hazel Salmi, the Center’s founder, lugged her briefcase of art supplies around the city. Salmi was often seen painting with kids on the side of the road, or giving impromptu drawing lessons around the city. For the first 15 years of the Center’s life, her arts initiative operated as such.

Bay Area Figuration and More in Four RAC Shows

Dewitt Cheng from The Monthly stopped by our galleries to review our fall exhibitions. You can see the original review here and we’ve posted it below:

by Dewitt Cheng
With SFMOMA closed for construction and the Berkeley Art Museum about to close and move to new digs, what’s an art-lover to do for visual sustenance? The Richmond Art Center has been on a programming roll recently, notably with sculpture, and four shows that started on September 14 promise to keep up the momentum.

Three of the shows examine Bay Area Figuration, one of our region’s main claims to art-world fame. Closely Considered — Diebenkorn in Berkeley follows up on the recent major show by the California painter at the deYoung Museum, with smaller shows at the College of Marin and San Jose State University. This show, curated by Berkeley painter Jan Wurm, focuses on works on paper from Diebenkorn’s Berkeley years, 1953-1966, some never exhibited before, along with works by contemporary Bay Area Figurationists Elmer Bischoff, Joan Brown, Frank Lobdell, Nathan Oliveira, David Park, and James Weeks. Several related events are scheduled.

Art Center provides a blank canvas for community creativity and learning

Our traveling Art in the Community program, which has doubled in size in just the past year, is filling a critical gap by bringing arts education back to 1,200 Richmond children. After school and summer programs, which are free to the students, are taught by our teaching artists at community centers, elementary, middle and high schools and at the Richmond Public Library.

This fall, we will launch 16 after school programs at sites all across Richmond. Recently, Loi Almeron from the Richmond Confidential spent an afternoon in one of our classes watching Marie Kamali teach a group of enthusiastic 6- to 9-year-old children how to make clay sculptures at the Richmond Public Library.

Annual Holiday Arts Festival Takes Sabbatical for 2014

The Richmond Art Center has announced that its annual Holiday Arts Festival is taking a sabbatical for 2014.

“Organizing this annual community event is a labor of love and one that we all look forward to each year, but as a nonprofit and the largest visual arts center in the East Bay, we are often managing multiple priorities with limited resources. We determined that taking a sabbatical from the Festival this year would ensure that we are able to maintain the high quality of our on-the-ground programs,” says Richard Ambrose, executive director for the Richmond Art Center. The Festival will return in December 2015.

The Richmond Art Center has been celebrating many milestones this fall.

The Center’s Art in the Community programs, which bring free art-making classes to Richmond children, have experienced unprecedented growth and demand and have doubled in number in just one year. Over the Sept. 13-14 weekend, the Art Center hosted hundreds of people at the opening reception for new exhibitions, including a showcase of works by world-renowned artist Richard Diebenkorn and numerous artists from the Bay Area Figurative Movement.

These exhibitions, which underscore the Art Center’s historic role in supporting emerging and established artists, are complemented with a series of free programs and an expansion of the Center’s gallery hours to include Sundays.

Meet our Volunteers: Gene and Roger

Gene Erickson and Roger Smith
Exhibitions Installation and Logistics Volunteers

How long have you been volunteering at Richmond Art Center?
Gene: Since moving up to the East Bay in 2006!

What do you like most about volunteering here?
Roger: Everyone here has a sense of what a special resource the Center is for the community and for the artists who show their work here. It’s great to feel a part of that.

Do you always work together as a team?
Gene: “Yes, and we are partners in private life too; 25 years!”

Before moving to the East Bay, Gene Erickson and Roger Smith were partners in life, but they pursued completely independent careers. Now the couple has melded their range of talents to become the Richmond Art Center’s dream team of volunteer art handler / installers.

‘Closely Considered: Diebenkorn in Berkeley’: When friends draw

Did you know that most of the pieces in our Richard Diebenkorn exhibition have been lent by private collectors? This exhibition was truly a community effort with many generous collectors lending us works to be shown publicly for the first time. We want to extend a special thank you our generous sponsors who helped make this exhibition possible, including: Stephen & Susan Chamberlin, Jacobs & Co., James J. Curtis, Harry W. & Mary Margaret Anderson Foundation, Mechanics Bank, Gruen Gruen + Associates, William N. & Kathryn E. Keller, Ellengale Toki & Owen Oakley and Blick Art Materials.

Meredith May at the San Francisco Chronicle sat down with curator Jan Wurm to talk about how she selected the pieces to be included in our exhibition of works by world-renowned artist Richard Diebenkorn and others of the Bay Area Figurative Movement. In short, Jan had the unique opportunity to visit and tour the homes of his family, former students and many art collectors across the Bay Area.

Wurm culled the show from former students, artists and friends she knew who had beloved Diebenkorn works in their private homes. The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation opened their database to her and let her scan their archives.

“I specifically chose pieces that had another life in people’s life,” Wurm said, “One person had a Diebenkorn in the dining room, or their bedroom, or right by their front door so they could consider it every time they were about to walk into the world. I noticed people really were devoted to their Diebenkorns, for the way his work shifted how they saw color and space.”

Read ‘Closely Considered: Diebenkorn in Berkeley’: When friends draw to learn more.

Fall Programs Include Works by Richard Diebenkorn & Improvements

Our fall programs, which includes an exhibition of works by world-renowned artist Richard Diebenkorn, will kick off with a gallery reception for the public on Sat., Sept. 13, 2014, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

“Our exhibition lineup this season is exceptionally strong, and underscores the Art Center’s historic role in supporting emerging and established artists,” says Richard Ambrose, executive director for the Richmond Art Center. The Art Center has also launched a series of improvements that highlight its historic legacy as the largest art center in the East Bay.

“As we look to the future, we’re elevating the quality of all we do — from the level of exhibitions the Center presents to our accessibility to diverse communities,” says Ambrose. “We’re thrilled to bring back the work of Richard Diebenkorn, one of the most influential painters of the last 50 years. He exhibited his work at the Art Center in the 1950s and held his first major exhibition of drawings here in 1968.”

The main exhibition, Closely Considered – Diebenkorn in Berkeley, will showcase works by artists from the Bay Area Figurative Movement, which includes artist Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Elmer Bischoff, Nathan Oliveira, James Weeks and Joan Brown.

The Art Center’s galleries will also feature works by other Bay Area artists, including prints by Frank Lobdell, large-scale paintings by Tom Holland and the printmaking practices and collections of Juan Fuentes, Art Hazelwood, Jos Sances and Jim Nikas.

Reinforcing Richmond Art Center’s Historic Legacy
The Art Center is making numerous improvements as it looks forward to its 80-year anniversary, which will be celebrated in 2016.

Enjoy the Art Center’s New Website!

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of the new website — just in time for our Fall session which includes the return of Richard Diebenkorn with an exhibition of his works on paper and a series of public programs which will provide a background on the historic role that the Art Center played in the rise of the Bay Area Figurative movement.

Our new site has been completely redesigned in an effort to make it easier for you to learn about our exhibitions and free events and more easily search our classes and programs.

Here are a few features that we think you’ll enjoy:

Take a look around and let us know what you think.

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Richmond Art Center
2540 Barrett Avenue
Richmond, California 94804

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Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Closed Sundays and Mondays & Major Holidays.

Gallery admission is free.