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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.


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.


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.