ArtSpan's Art for City Youth programs connect local working artists with under-served youth in San Francisco. ArtSpan believes that visual arts are an integral part of a child's education and works to support the next generation of San Francisco artists and art appreciators.

Youth Open Studios

ArtSpan is proud to announce Youth Open Studios in San Francisco! The goal of Youth Open Studios is to provide a platform for young artists to thrive through participation in SF Open Studios, the oldest and largest open studios event in the country. Youth Open Studios participants receive free registration in the event, promotional and program support from ArtSpan, and the chance to join ArtSpan's community of over 800 professional working artists in San Francisco. Through working directly with Artist Mentors, students also gain leadership skills, practice in public speaking, and a chance to show their creativity to a vast audience of art appreciators! Classes and programs with five or more youth artists are encouraged to apply. Contact for more information. 

Tours for Youth

Explore over 400 works of art made by artists living and working in San Francisco! During the months of October and November, ArtSpan invites youth programs to plan an art-filled journey through the SF Open Studios Exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center. ArtSpan can provide Visual Thinking Strategies to encourage discussion, build critical observation skills, and nurture art appreciation. Over 450 students participate in the tours each year. Contact to learn more.


Past Programming

Family Art Day

In 2012 and 2013, ArtSpan partnered with YMCA Urban Services, Hunters Point Shipyard Artists, Lennar Urban, and over a dozen community partners to produce the first ever Family Art Day at the Shipyard events. Over 150 youth and families gathered to celebrate community through art activities, performances, and a showcase of art projects created by students at Malcom X Academy, Bret Harte Elementary, and Charles Drew Elementary. ArtSpan continues these partnerships by hosting studio visit tours for students during open studios events.

Artist Studio Tours

In 2012 and 2013, ArtSpan hosted studio tours for students K-8th grade, focusing on connecting youth and families with working artists in their neighborhoods. Studio tours give kids much needed arts exposure and produce memorable experiences through visits to unique locations and one-on-one conversations with the artists. Past tours included fine art demonstrations and hands-on art-making with professional printmakers, painters, and mixed media artists.

Youth Art Showcases

ArtSpan has provided opportunities for select youth art to be featured in important art events in San Francisco, including the SFUSD Arts Festival, school showcases, and other venues.

Art & Literacy Program

Ideal for schools and groups with limited available class time, the 3-part Art & Literacy Programmet both  visual and language arts standards. The first visit consisted of a guided discussion with a professional artist about their own work. The second visit was an artist-led writing activity based on the artwork they viewed. The final visit culminated in a hands-on art activity weaving together the lessons from previous visits. Formerly the Pre-Visit and Post-Visit activities, the Art & Literacy Program uses art as a gateway to creative writing skills, and is structured with the intent to offer second-language learners alternate ways to explore literacy.