Mission + History

Art Is Education: The ArtReach Mission

ArtReach believes that all children, regardless of zip code or socioeconomic status, benefit from the opportunity to practice creative thinking and creative doing. We exist to increase access to visual arts education by connecting students at K-12 schools throughout San Diego County with professional artists. We focus on providing free programs to students at schools that meet need criteria and have no or scant visual arts education resources.

ArtReach Teaching Artists

All of our Teaching Artists make a living creating art. Our team includes painters, printmakers, fiber artists, sculptors, and more. Though their techniques differ, they share a passion for art and a commitment to making art making come alive in local classrooms. Our artists share pieces of their own work before helping students find their own artistic voice. Our team believes art is an exploration and that there is no one “right” way to approach a project. We nurture originality and confidence in every student.


In 2007 San Diego sisters, Judy Berman Silbert and Sandi Cottrell saw budget cuts that slashed arts programming in local schools throughout the county. Both grew up drawing, painting and creating in school and at home.  As Managing Director of ArtWalk San Diego Sandi had artist connections and resources; as the creator of the “Taste of Art” program in her children’s Rancho Penasquitos Elementary school, Judy had fashioned a template for a visual arts education program. Thus, ArtReach was born, becoming an official not-for profit organization in 2007.

In 2008, ArtReach worked in one school with 480 students. Since then, ArtReach has grown to a staff of four, an artistic team of eleven, and a board of thirteen. ArtReach continues to provide children with the opportunity to work with an artist and to create original work. Thanks to the support of individuals, businesses and foundations, we have helped over 40,000 youth find the artist within.