For more than twenty years, Sanchez Art Center has been a hub for artistic engagement on San Mateo County’s north coast. A comfortable and welcoming place for the community to gather, connect and be enriched by the arts, Sanchez Art Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit visual arts organization with a mission of Creating Community through Art. We accomplish this mission by providing:
- Exhibitions by emerging and established California and west coast artists,
- Arts Education and Community Engagement designed to make art accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds, and
- Affordable art studios for San Francisco Bay Area artists.
Sanchez Art Center exhibition space includes three galleries:
- Main Gallery, a “by invitation” gallery that is programmed by Artistic Director Jerry Ross Barrish. Mr. Barrish and guest curators bring the work of living bay area artists to this jewel of an exhibition space, displaying a wide variety of mediums.
- East Gallery is where the work of community groups ranging from Feat to Fire, Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage presenting work by Women Eco Artists Dialog (WEAD) to California Indigenous Resilience art by Cali Native Now, and an upcoming show by the Loom and Shuttle Guild is presented. Student artists, veterans, and multicultural groups have also been shown.
- West Gallery is programmed by our sister organization the Art Guild of Pacifica. Art has been part of the Pacifica landscape from the very beginning of the City of Pacifica’s history, with both entities having celebrated their 60th birthdays.
18 professionally installed contemporary art exhibitions including the Left Coast Annual juried contemporary exhibition and celebrated 50|50 Show where artists undertake the challenging creative experience of creating 50 small works in 50 days are programmed annually.
Sanchez Elementary School had been closed for almost 15 years – and it showed. Smudges of graffiti covered the beige walls, floor tiles were peeling and insulation was hanging from classroom ceilings and hallways. Despite this, art was in the heart of the property.
The school district at the time recognized the intrinsic value of providing visual art instruction in the classroom; through the Schools with Artists Program (SWAP) artists were provided with studio space at the abandoned school in exchange for teaching the youth of Pacifica.
In 1996, a group of artists, volunteers, and local residents — in cooperation with the City of Pacifica who had purchased the property — leased the building. There amidst shattered windows and leaky roofs, a place to engage in the long-standing interest in and support for the Pacifica arts community materialized.
In 1998, a team of local artists, youth, and family members completed Pacifica’s first large-scale mural, containing images that celebrate community spirit and commitment to diversity. In 2000, the Mary Harris Arts Education Room was established for art classes and summer camps.
The legacy of art education continues through Sanchez Goes to School, providing hands-on Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) standards-based visual arts education at Sunset Ridge Elementary School in Pacifica, plus fine and digital arts camps and classes for kids.
Support for Community Art
Sanchez Art Center funding comes from program fees, art sales, grants and the kind support of community members like you. You can continue to Make Art Happen Here by donating to Sanchez Art Center (Tax ID Number 94-3314658).