About Us

What is ArtSeed?

ArtSeed is a unique and innovative arts education program. Our intergenerational and multi-disciplinary projects put students from diverse backgrounds in touch with artists and other professionals in a variety of fields. Working side-by-side in experimental and classical apprenticeships that include non-western styles of art, participants share hands-on artmaking, exhibition and field trip adventures.

What is our Goal?

Youngsters with learning differences, financial obstacles, and/or discipline problems learn practical skills and professional habits that give form to their own unique, creative gifts. We hope in the process to encourage new inter-cultural friendships between people of all ages and from all walks of life. We do this by producing tangible and meaningful arts experiences that have a sustained impact on lives. Young people are tightly integrated into the day-to-day life of the organization, doing everything from curating shows to acting as docents, securing equipment, and meeting on boards of trustees. Students prepare their own designs, distribute publicity for, and document culminating exhibitions of their individual portfolios or larger collaborative pieces. Festive receptions give pen-pals from various classes, workshops, and private mentorships new opportunities to interact. Young artists and interns get to teach, often for the first time. Students take supplies home to continue artmaking. ArtSeed supports on-going mutual learning relationships between artists, students, and mentors from various fields.

How did ArtSeed Get It’s Start?

ArtSeed’s vision is rooted in founder Josefa Vaughan’s 20 years of professional artmaking/exhibiting practice. She has worked for 13 years in both public and private schools, in classes with teachers, and privately with students. To integrate the arts into a larger curriculum, Vaughan has been employed by the Texas Institute for Arts in Education, the San Francisco Arts Education Project, and the Hills Project. Sponsors of her projects include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the de Young Museum, Southern Exposure, Intersection for the Arts, Diverse Works, and Project Row Houses. She has lectured on her work and its outreach aspects at the San Francisco Art Institute, San Jose State University, and Stanford University.

In 1988 Vaughan began collecting an archive of storyboard suggestions from all kinds of people. She juxtaposes elements from these storyboards to build imaginary exchanges between folks who would otherwise never meet. Her artwork continues to quote from this radically inclusive, gregarious combination of images and text.

Stepping from the studio into a classroom filled with troubled youth, Vaughan worked collaboratively with other visual artists to develop specific methods for dealing with difficult students and situations. In the spring of 2000 some of these same students and other visitors to the de Young Museum Artist Studio came together for real (not just in Vaughan’s art) to make art of their own to show next to hers. Harnessing the power of art to transport the individual is essential to making a difference in the classroom.  All of this formed the prelude to the formation of ArtSeed in 2000. We received our 501(c)(3) non-profit status in 2002. In addition to workshops for larger groups, ArtSeed offers private lessons and field trips as part of long-term, extra-curricular, and multi-faceted individual mentorships.

ARTSEED’S MISSION  ArtSeed aims to bring into the lives of young people, life-long love for creativity, knowledge, and generosity. Its mission is to connect diverse communities and cultures through professional artists who interact with them in fine arts studio projects and long-term apprenticeships. ArtSeed works with the notion that youngsters are vastly capable beyond what their early years might suggest. Treated with dignity and respect, they are offered ideas and materials that challenge them to understand and embrace the many rich possibilities that lie ahead of them.

ARTSEED’S GOALS – ArtSeed youngsters interact with professional artists for long-term instruction and projects that take place both in studio groups and one-on-one apprenticeships. Experimental and traditional visual arts practices form the basis our activities. We know first-hand that young people are fascinated by “grown-up” concepts that can push their own ideas about what art can be way beyond “kid stuff.” Some of our youngsters have learning differences, as well as financial or social difficulties. By exposing them to professional discipline and practical skills, however, we see how they can mature to discover their unique creative gifts. We have witnessed that excellence and discipline learned in one field — in ArtSeed’s case, art-making — are transferable down the line to other disciplines, be they academic, job-related, or simply good citizenship. ArtSeed alumni are living proof that tangible, meaningful arts experiences can have substantial impact on young lives.

ARTSEED’S ORIGINS – ArtSeed was founded in 2000 by teaching artist Josefa Vaughan and three years later received its 501(C)(3) non-profit status. Her vision for the organization developed out of her own sustained mentorship as a youngster. Weekly lessons and collegiality with an older artist taught her to develop the discipline and self-assurance that led to her career as a painter. Stepping from the studio to the classroom, Vaughan worked collaboratively with other artists to develop the philosophy and methodology that guide ArtSeed. That philosophy stresses sustained, inter-generational relationships between youngsters and older creative people. It includes the use of professional materials, even by the youngest children, along with exposure to important works from all periods, not least of all our own. Vaughan was joined early on by teaching artist and co-founder Marissa Kunz.