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, Excelsior Boys and Girls Club, and Root Division. Other community partners include 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 works closely with SFAI’s Young Artist Program and PreCollege program, offering scholarships to deserving City Studio students to these intensive and enriching environments.

City Studio is made possible in part by grants from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the Mary A. Crocker Trust and the Mental Insight Foundation. For more information, visit:

Spring 2020 Classes

(Classes start in January)

Ceramics at SOMARTS: Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture–Creating with Clay

Fridays, 4:30–6:30pm | 934 Brannan Street
Teaching Artist: Steph Kudisch

Our class at SOMArts explores the ceramic process, including hand building and wheel-throwing techniques and glaze application. They also employ pinch, coil and slab construction to create sculptures. Students are typically self-driven and pursue work on their own terms.  We have many return students in this workshop and we hope they continue to stay connected with City Studio and continue their relationship with clay!


Printmaking at Tenderloin Boys and Girls Club

Thursdays, 5–7pm | 115 Jones Street
Teaching Artist: Kate Laster

The class will have two modes of making: collaborative and individual. Collaborative exercises comprise of group drawing and printing and will involve building a collective piece among a cohort of students, who will ask one another for permission to add content to the collaborative work. Individually, students will create their own body of work and catalog print blocks to use for solo work or larger projects. Students will monoprint, carve linoleum blocks, handprint their blocks, stitch books and make drawings. Both modes of making allow for an active space where students feel comfortable making and creating together and individually.

Each class will start with a collaborative drawing exercise to help build focus and stretch drawing muscles. Afterward, students will work on individual projects, usually working on a larger scale piece as a collective at the end of each session. Starting with simple monoprints as an introduction to printmaking, students will build their relief printing and carving skills.


Concrete/Abstract Techniques in Drawing and Painting at Columbia Park Boys and Girls Club

Wednesdays, 3:30–5:30pm | 450 Guerrero Street
Teaching Artist: Tom Colcord

The aim of this course is to use the media of drawing and painting to connect young artists with their self-identity using various strategies in drawing, painting, and writing. Processes used will relate to improvisation, still life, memory, music, poetry, movement, and self-reflection. We also will focus on a different art movements in order to gain a richer understanding of both the history and potential of image creation.


Animation at Excelsior Boys and Girls Club

Mondays, 4–6pm | 163 London Street
Teaching Artists: Yiling Zeng

The animation class is about exploring the mysterious genre. With props that could be found in daily life, the students tried out different kinds of animation—from flip book to hand-painted film, from paper cut-out animation to claymation. Color sharpies could even be their camera and captured their imaginations on clear film strips. The young animators created individually. They also collaborated on shooting and sound recording as a film crew. The art practice helped them gain a deeper understanding of the potential of animation.


Portfolio mentorship for middle schoolers at all Boys and Girls Club locations led by City Studio alum and Sota graduate Glory Rubio.

Save the Date! City Studio Spring 2020 Exhibition

Please join us in celebrating City Studio's young artists at their spring exhibition opening on Thursday, April 30, from 5–7pm in the Diego Rivera Gallery at SFAI’s 800 Chestnut Street Campus.

City as Studio Practicum

In City as Studio Practicum, students link theory and practice by examining and participating in one of a number of projects working with professional artists and youth (or other populations). Students select from projects in SFAI’s City Studio program or other similar programs that partner with Bay Area community centers and arts organizations using urban sites in both San Francisco and the East Bay as a laboratory for research, practice, education, and social interaction. Students will collaborate with and educate youth or other populations in a variety of media, and together they will learn to develop and implement individual and collaborative projects. Students will also participate in class discussions investigating art education theory and current pedagogical practices in primary, secondary, and university settings as well as taking an active role in teaching and mentoring the community in their chosen outside project.

Please contact City Studio Director and SFAI faculty member Amy Berk for additional details: