City Studio

Youth. Art. Activate.

SFAI’s award-winning City Studio program offers underserved youth a high-quality arts education in their own neighborhood, enlists youth in a long-term program to gain passion for and skills in the fine arts, and assists them in developing a portfolio for a professional career in the arts and/or to apply for higher education.

Classes, taught by SFAI alumni, are located at community centers and schools year-round. Current SFAI students serve as TAs (and lead instructors) for many of the classes. 

Current community partners include SOMArts, Columbia Park Boys and Girls Club, BGCSF Tenderloin Clubhouse, Mission Boys and Girls Club, Excelsior Boys and Girls Club, and Root Division. Other community partners include Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club at Hunters Point, African American Arts and Culture Center, Cleveland Elementary, and George Washington Carver Elementary School. City Studio is excited to be collaborating on innovative programming with Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center and MindCatcher and to announce a new partnership with the David Ireland House!  Thanks especially to Lian Ladia, Cait Molloy (SFAI MFA), Laura Pacchini (SFAI MFA), Steven Loscutoff and Alex Ehmer (SFAI BFA).

City Studio works closely with SFAI’s PreCollege program, offering scholarships to deserving City Studio students to these intensive and enriching environments. City Studio artists can waive the fee if appropriate. Contact City Studio Program Director Amy Berk at to discuss. 

City Studio is proud to announce a two-year grant from the Institute for Museums and Library Services. This will allow us to continue to provide high quality innovative programming. City Studio is also thankful for recent grants from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the Mary A. Crocker Trust,  the Mental Insight Foundation and donations by individuals. For more information, visit:

Image credits:
Artivate artists working on murals in the Lower Haight. Top photo is on the parklette in front of Kate's Kitchen (471 Haight Street) and the bottom photo is on the CVS at 499 Haight Street.  Photos by Justin Hoover.

ARTIVATE: public art now

City Studio is excited to collaborate with Collective Action StudioProject Artivism, and new partner, the David Ireland House on ARTIVATE: public art now an art education and community engagement program using online and IRL mentorships between professional artists and promising young artists to professionalize and advance mural painting, printmaking and public art practices that help us explore ourselves as citizens. Over 16-weeks, youth and mentors work together to create dynamic public artworks with a variety of mediums, techniques, and forms in public space, both in San Francisco and Oakland, California.

Read about the Haight Street murals made by the talented ARTIVATE youth in hoodline!  

Image credit:
Detail of the mural "Seeds of Change" by Artivate artists and friends in the Walgreens parking lot at 1189 Potrero Avenue. Photo by Amy Berk.

Virtual Open Drawing Studio

Join City Studio lead artists as they create innovative content for this non-synchronous, all-ages, and free drawing session! Building on SFAI’s history of offering free live model sessions on Friday afternoons since the 1950s, new drawing sessions will be uploaded each week to a custom platform to give both beginners and advanced drawers exciting and engaging opportunities to explore drawing techniques and conceptual modes of artmaking. These sessions will feature models of all ages and themes such as: Halloween, Black Joy, and of course an Exploration of Drawing Materials. This interactive online format allows participants to revisit the episodes again and again, creating a truly versatile and lasting tool for drawing the live model.

Image credit:
Behind the scenes of Open Drawing Studio filming, featuring instructor Steph Kudisch and model (and fellow instructor) Tom Colcord. Photo by Chris Paddock.