Richmond Art Center Richmond Art Center

Exhibition of Works by World-Renowned Artist Richard Diebenkorn Draws Record Crowds

A record number of people have flocked to the Richmond Art Center to view an exhibition of works by world-renowned artist Richard Diebenkorn and supporting exhibitions which feature artists of the Bay Area Figurative movement. A closing party for the public will be held on Sunday, Nov. 16 from 3:00-5:00 p.m.

The closing party will honor the generous collectors and galleries that have loaned the works, many shown publicly for the first time, for Closely Considered – Diebenkorn in Berkeley.

“We are thrilled to celebrate 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,” says Richard Ambrose, executive director for the Richmond Art Center.

Richmond Confidential: Halloween Treats for Richmond Families

We were thrilled to welcome our local news outlet, the Richmond Confidential, and its four reporters who documented the event with their cameras, video cameras and note pads! We’ve posted their story below, but you can read the original here.

By Fan Fei and Loi Almeron
Trick or treat? Halloween is here! Richmond Art Center is treating children to seasonal chills and thrills with its annual family art making event: Skeletonfest. This event was free and open to the public.

Three girls drew scary skulls on paper plates with colorful sugar paint. One girl couldn’t help taste her art work. No surprise. “It tastes like sugar,” she said.

Skeletonfest has been growing. Some 400 kids and adults came to the studio this year to take part in the drawing and painting, said Nicole Kite, education coordinator at Richmond Art Center.

“It is a great way to come and see the studios, meet our teachers, try a little bit art making,” Kite said.

Children and adults from around the East Bay had a grand time, decked out in scary costumes and bearing treats to share.

“We do a variety of things, like sugar skulls, decorate masks, do traditional paper cutting, Mexican flowers,” Kite said.“And this year we do these movable skeletons.”

More kids classes are coming up. A family event on how to use recycled materials to create art will be hosted in the same venue next spring, Kite said.

Check out the great video from Richmond Confidential:

Call for Artists: The Art of Living Black Exhibition

The Art of Living Black is seeking Bay Area artists of African American descent to participate in the 19th Annual The Art of Living Black exhibition to be held at the Richmond Art Center from January 10 – February 27, 2015. This non-juried exhibition is open to Bay Area artists of African American descent.

Entry Application Deadline: Saturday, Dec 13, 2014
Artwork Drop Off: Friday, Dec 19 – Saturday, Dec 20, 2014 from 10 am – 4 pm

Artwork Guidelines

The Benefits of STEAM in K-12 Education

Great article in the NY Times that talks about the huge benefits of using art as a teaching tool.

We firmly believe that STEAM (science, technology, engineering, ART, match) and arts integration are crucial in K-12 education. Using art as a tool to teach students about the STEM subjects, ensures that creativity doesn’t fall by the wayside and is an important part of our Art in the Community programs.

When a child learns to think like an artist, she can apply that thinking to any career she pursues, which is why our efforts to bring this innovative initiative – STEAM – to Richmond children is so important. We’re helping our city’s next generation how to think creatively, to be innovative and preparing them for any career they choose.

This article originally appeared in the NY Times, you can read it there as well.

By Henry Fountain
Engineering and art were not always completely separate disciplines. Take Leonardo da Vinci, who seamlessly combined the two.

“Five hundred years ago, you couldn’t really tell the difference between artists and engineers,” said James Michael Leake, director of engineering graphics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. But education has become balkanized and the field of engineering, in particular, more specialized, complex and math- and computer-oriented. Today’s engineering majors have little room for other pursuits.

East Bay Monthly: Juan Fuentes Work on the Cover


The cover of November’s “The Monthly” showcases Maya, 2011, a woodcut by Juan R. Fuentes. His work features prominently in our exhibition Social Discourses: In Print along with the printmaking practices and private collections of Bay Area artists Art Hazelwood, Jos Sances and Jim Nikas. The exhibition addresses links between the practices and how printmaking has been used to create political solidarity, accessible political messages, and social change.

Juan R. Fuentes is a cultural activist, artist, and printmaker who has dedicated his art to supporting and being part of a global movement for social change. His work addresses issues relating to local communities of color, social justice, and international struggles for liberation. His early poster art is now part of the Chicano Poster Movement. In 2007, he created Pajaro Editions, a printmaking studio that is part of Consejo Grafico, a national collective of Chicano/Latino printmakers that promotes printmaking traditions and works to sustain existing Chicano/Latino Talleres nationally.

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.”

Radio Free Richmond: 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.

East Bay Monthly: 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.

Richmond Confidential: Art Center provides a blank canvas for community creativity and learning

Loi Almeron on October 2, 2014

“Pinch and pull, pinch and pull” was the constant mantra of 12 kids molding their clay on a sunny afternoon. Each student was given a block of clay, water, molding tools and freedom to make their own clay birds.

At the Richmond City Library, Marie Kamali, a multimedia artist, teaches kids ages 6-9 years old how to make clay sculptures as part of an art in community program.

Art in Community provides career readiness to future artists by aiming to “bring the art-making experience to the community [and] encourage people to see art as a lifelong pursuit,” Community Programs Director Rebeca García-González said.

An outgrowth of the Richmond Art Center, the program provides after-school art training to schools and community centers within the city of Richmond. Art programs usually last 4-8 weeks per semester and admission is free for children and teens. Students are limited to 10-14 per class to make sure that the artist-teachers have time for everyone.

Starting with 5 programs in 2012, Richmond Art Center currently has grown to 16 art in community programs running today. Local program sites decide on the kind of art program they want. Funding comes from the City of Richmond, local businesses and Parent-Teacher Associations.

According to Rebeca, out of the 450 enrolled students, 80% are Latinos and 20% are African-Americans.

During class, each student pinched a part of clay and pulled it to form a wing, then repeated it to make a pair. Their clay birds cannot fly, of course, but it did not matter to these children. They had the choice to create, and so their imaginations soared.

“The risk of being creative, which we lose as we get older,” Marie said, “the kids just have it.” Marie said that it was faith that brought her to meeting Rebeca and the introduction to the art in community program. “Faith in the sense that I believed there was a place for my passion, working with and teaching children, art,” she said.

Marie used to create environmental installations before getting involved with the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) program in Richmond, where she wrote a curriculum linking sciences and art. After years of living a “lucrative life” of art culture, Marie “realized doing something like this [teaching] held a deep sense of well being within.”

The STEAM program, tied to the Common Core, has been essential to the community program. It acknowledges art and design in learning different subjects. Art is the “glue to learning,” Richmond Art Center Executive Director Ric Ambrose said.

Each student carefully places their molded clay birds on plates and Marie collects them in a box ready for glazing.  Students are also taught how to be responsible with their materials and the room. Several students cleaned-up after their class.

“Think of the Richmond Art Center as a person – one arm in exhibitions and one arm in education,” Rebeca said. That person is aiming that the little ones walk out of the room not only with “pinch and pull” thoughts, but also a further sense of freedom ready for their flight to creativity and learning.

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Richmond, CA 94804-1600


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