The purpose of arts education and arts programs is not to produce more artists, but instead to produce more complete human beings, able to access their own creativity.
The Art Department is not a store, not a gallery, and not a business per se. For over two decades our mission has been to encourage arts awareness and cultural literacy in Vallejo. Our funds come entirely from grants that we write. Our efforts to support the arts and artists are widely known and the Art Department is one of the most publicized community art projects in Northern California.
Our method focuses on community engagement through participation in public art projects for families and children in the neighborhoods they live in. Our belief is that social change comes through community interaction, and that all levels of creativity can add value to our lives as individuals and as a community.
In recent years our programs and projects have been funded by Contra Costa County and centered in North Richmond. Our program partners have included Contra Costa County, City of Richmond, and The Community Housing and Development Corporation of North Richmond. Our project partners have included West County Unified School District, Kaiser Hospital, Richmond Main Street Program, Contra Costa Superior Court, and others.
In downtown Vallejo we have occupied our location for over 16 years. We do not depend on foot traffic or sales and instead utilize the sidewalk to showcase local creative talent, including youth groups, seniors, and children, at no cost.