SFArtsED milestones


Alvarado Arts Workshop funded with $50 grant in a single San Francisco elementary school with volunteer artist teachers


The SF School District asks that we assist in raising capital funds for a magnet high school as we changed our name to the School of the Arts Alternative High School Foundation


A big year: in collaboration with Jacques D’Amboise and the National Dance Institute of New York we produced our first The Event of Year under the leadership of our new Artistic Director, Emily Keeler, at the War Memorial Opera House

Emily guides the reassertion of arts programs for the schools with four other dancer/choreographers: Camille Olivier-Salmon, Hassan al Falak, Pearl Ubungen and Alan Scofield


Artists-In-Residence program is now in 10 San Francisco Schools


We add both choral and visual arts, and change our name to the San Francisco Arts Education Foundation; we’re now in 15 SF public schools

Visual arts Residencies debut


The Event of the Year moves to Sigmund Stern Grove


After school arts programming begins


Remy Charlip serves as Master mentor for the Artists


We change our name to the San Francisco Arts Education Project

SFArtsED Summer arts camps get their start

We broaden our reach to kids all over the City and to Bay Area private and charter schools

Visual arts exhibitions begin in public spaces, including the SF Art Commission Gallery, Southern Exposure, Rena Bransten Gallery and SFMOMA

High school student Internship program begins


Making Tutti, a documentary on the creation of SFArtsED’s The Event of the Year in 1992, airs on PBS stations KQED (San Francisco) and WNET (New York)


Theatre Arts added to the program


Alice Waters of Chez Panisse is primary donor for benefit picnics at Stern Grove (and Golden Gate Band Shell for one year,) to support The Event of the Year.


Musical Theatre Residencies arrive


We create SFArtsED Players, our musical theater company for children


An After School extended learning program begins at Glen Park Elementary School  


Free student matinees reach over 1,200 students a year

SFArtsED forms a partnership with the NYU Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program


Susie Tompkins and Alice Waters are honored by SFArtsED for their support at our 40th anniversary celebration


The first year SFArtsED Summer Camp grows to include two school campuses


Our Artists clocked thousands of hours teaching in the schools this year--the most in our history.

Four new schools are added to the roster.


Expanded After School Programs now include Gratten Elementary School


Citywide student art exhibition INTERNATIONAL ORANGE: The Bridge Re-imagined opens at the Mills Building and in 75 "Bridge Galleries" around the City in celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary.

Who We Are section

After more than four decades, our history is still in the making.

With a $50 grant for clay, our experiential arts program began over 40 years ago in a single elementary school. We’re so delighted and proud that since that day in 1968 we’ve touched the lives of more than 200,000 elementary and middle school children — over 7,500 a year now — with energetic arts education in more than two dozen public schools.

As for high school students from all over the city? Rich and engaging experiences attract them as interns who share their enormous teen spirit as they learn by working side by side with their Artists-in-Residence mentors.

Students today participate in classes in many artistic disciplines. In the performing arts, they may study dance technique and composition, vocal music and musical theater, percussion, circus arts and drama. In the visual arts, they explore drawing and painting, sculpture, collage, mural work, ceramics, cartooning and fashion design. Our kids love and embrace it all!

Our students’ art has been displayed at SFMOMA, the deYoung and at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. Their performances have been cheered by sold-out audiences at the War Memorial Opera House (with guest artists Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg), The Palace of Fine Arts, the Oakland Paramount and the Eureka Theatre. Our kids have traveled to San Jose, where they toured struggling migrant farm workers’ local landmarks, and met members of the César Chávez family before performing a musical about this leader’s life at the Mexican Heritage Plaza Theater.

What’s now known as the San Francisco Arts Education Project was founded in 1968 by Ruth Asawa, a renowned sculptor. It was first called the Alvarado Arts Workshop, bringing creative arts experiences directly to San Francisco’s Alvarado Elementary School.

In 1986 Emily Keeler became SFArtsED’s Artistic Director. She directed our first show, The Event of the Year, at the Opera House and 16 subsequent Events. She also brought Artist Residencies at elementary schools back into our performance art repertoire.

Ruth Asawa’s inventive idea is as relevant now as it was more than four decades ago. The original three-part mission?

  • Help students hone new skills — from cognitive development to physical dexterity — as original performance and visual artwork is created
  • Infuse public education with arts experiences through participatory learning
  • Make, at every economic level, the arts accessible to school age San Francisco kids.