The following article was featured in the Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, editions of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Josefa Vaughan cultivates ArtSeed
by Jonathan Kuperberg
May 18, 2013
Kali Richardson, 8, gets help from his dad, Alex, at a typewriter at ArtSeed’s recent annual art-athon in the Presidio. Photo by James Tensuan, The Chronicle
Mentored at 11, Josefa Vaughan pays it forward with ArtSeed
Josefa Vaughan was adrift. Growing up poor in Houston, she was mostly on her own by age 15 and could have been heading down a dark path. But she had art – and a mentor in Pilar Rubin.
Vaughan, whose sister knew Rubin, got free weekly lessons starting at age 11. When Vaughan first stepped foot in Rubin’s home, Rubin handed the girl paper and charcoal and told her to draw. “You will be here every Saturday,” Rubin said after she saw Vaughan’s drawing. “You will be a great artist.”
With that influence in mind, Vaughan in 2000 founded ArtSeed, a nonprofit San Francisco organization that brings art to children, particularly those who might not otherwise have access to it, through classes, apprenticeships and other programs. ArtSeed preaches that children are taught as adults, just as Rubin treated Vaughan like her older college students and had her use more adult materials.
“When someone outside your family says they expect something of you, it means a little something more,” Vaughan says.
Through ArtSeed, she works in schools, forms apprenticeships between professional artists and kids and designs curriculum and projects. Most of her work for the past 11 years has centered on Leola M. Havard Early Education School in the Bayview. Vaughan is also helping to pilot a program at San Francisco Public Montessori on Jackson Street and serves hundreds more kids at the Asian Art Museum through an art project about legacy involving China’s terra-cotta warriors (currently on exhibit). ArtSeed holds an annual show that ties the entire year’s artwork all together. Its annual art-athon, a 10-hour art-making marathon that raises funds for its programs, was held April 20 in the Presidio. Continue reading