Side-by-side display of pre-K to High School students’ art, art school graduate work, and that of distinguished professionals, some of whom have been practicing their art for decades. Click to view ArtSeed’s Flickr page for photos.

ArtSeed is an art education/youth leadership nonprofit enterprise and Tides Converge tenant since 2005. As we approach our 20th year of programming we focus on how humanity has struggled towards a point where peace, freedom, and unity exist without abuses of power. In the past months, children we work with, artists on our team, and volunteers have become fascinated with lawmakers, specifically the current, historic number of Congresswomen, 131. At the same time, we have witnessed an increasing number of articles about missing or murdered women whose cases, some having languished for decades, are finally being investigated. 

All this gave rise to the centerpiece of our current show: two canvases, collaboratively rendered in oil paint, that juxtapose portraits of Congresswomen with their less fortunate counterparts. The portraits in this ongoing project have been created by a diverse group of folks, ranging from youngsters and other beginners to professional artists of all ages. Visitors to the show are encouraged to participate in this continuing adventure by providing their own additions to what we have already begun. You will find guidance as needed to paint your own chosen portrait of a woman from reference material provided. Click to see Keystone Project photos.

In addition, this show presents work resulting from continuing ArtSeed projects along with that of artists whose work compliments the collaborative canvases. Among many others, these include Saint Brigid School students’ depictions of predators and prey within animal fables; Trey Houston’s photographs of ArtSeed Summer Intensive students’ reflections in each other’s eyes; El Paso artist, Alejandra Carrillo-Estrada’s metal-smithed border reflections; and “Notes” with depictions of “Fertile Energy Power” by Seattle-based artist Albert Fisher.

Click to view the Exhibition's Opening and Closing Reception photos.
2019 Summer Intensive Photos
2019 Exhibition Artworks Online


A keystone project call for participants: Visitors will be invited to engage in our three-part project: 1) Research the background of a Congresswoman and/or a woman known to have been murdered or has disappeared; 2) Reflect on this woman and what her concerns might be, or may have been, by painting her “likeness”; 3) Write to this woman, on ArtSeed prepared letter template (we will send it with a stamped return envelope), describing what your main concerns are. If she is a Congresswoman, tell her how best to represent you in seeking solutions. If she is one who has vanished, tell her about your painting, what you imagine her hopes and dreams were and that she is included in our project.

ArtSeed invites people of all ages and skill levels to expand their creative art-making abilities for the purpose of touching lives and effecting positive social change.

My name is Josefa Vaughan, and ArtSeed is a non-profit organization I founded in the year 2000. Our mission is to connect gifted and vulnerable folks through activist art projects that voice the concerns and hopes for our time. We also aim to foster nurturing and enduring relationships when children, the elderly, or disabled adults connect with artists. ArtSeed happens in classrooms, at public events, and in long-term studio apprenticeships. We involve professionals from many fields who provide valuable input as we brainstorm annual themes, explore related questions, and practice new skills.

We aim to express diverse points of views with “Fast Art Stops” in the Bayview Hunters Point, SF Richmond District, and in the Presidio.

Participants will experiment with materials and share ideas that can impact the outcome of a young life by interpreting a face on a large, two-part collaborative painting. The idea is to juxtapose portraits of all 131 Congresswomen (a historic number of women in power) alongside images of their more vulnerable counterparts who are counted among disappeared, murdered or missing women. It’s been described in the media as an epidemic, a backlash to the #MeToo Movement, a combination of ineffective policing in poor communities, and “compassion fatigue” that has us helplessly turning away from such stories. There are often curious links between polar worlds. We hope to draw connections between these worlds with our project which was inspired by reading the following two New York Times articles:

  • In a jailhouse interview with Jillian Lauren for New York magazine, Mr. Little said that he had evaded capture by preying on those whose deaths would not garner widespread public attention. “I never killed no senators or governors or fancy New York journalists – nothing like that,” he told Ms. Lauren. “I killed you, it’d be all over the news the next day. I stayed in the ghettos.” Angela Williamson, a senior policy adviser on forensics at the Department of Justice, noted that without Mr. Little’s confessions, investigators might never have known that he had committed so many crimes [90+]. Most of the time, there was no physical evidence. “We just want to get these girls their names back,” she said. “We want to give answers to their families or friends who are wondering what happened to them and close the cases and get some kind of resolution.” Click here for link to NYtimes article.
  • A recent New York Times section, Redefining Representation: Women of the 116th Congress, was devoted to color photographs and bios for all but one of 131 Congresswomen currently in office. 
    “For most of recorded American history, political power has looked a certain way. Portraits of power call certain images to mind – those of older, white men, dressed in suits and depicted in formal settings. The 2018 midterm elections ushered in a change in representation; … Many of these women, spanning generations, serve as firsts in Congress: the first women representing their states, the first female combat veteran, the first Native American women, the first Muslim women, the first openly gay member of the Senate, the first woman Speaker of the House – the list goes on. … What it means to be a woman in power varies significantly, even among this class of 131 women. …” – Elizabeth D. Herman, Photojournalist

Students, artists, and non-artists from ArtSeed’s schools, events (such as our Art-a-thon and Hunters Point Shipyard Open Studios), and our Labyrinth Studios will be learning about predators and prey in animal fables and how this connects to laws and law-makers whose job it is to establish the freedom and justice necessary to achieve peace. We will imagine what powerful women might fear and what stolen lives might have become. Your participation in this project will crown ArtSeed’s next Tides Converge exhibition with our center-piece project, “Rendering Power: Lawmakers, Lost Lives, and Peaceful Resolutions.”

We are immensely grateful for sponsorship of this keystone ArtSeed project by the Peaceful World Foundation. Dedicated to fostering a culture of global peace through the promotion of hosted conversations and education, the Peaceful World Foundation strives to build peace in the world one conversation at a time. It also provides support for non-profit organizations in their peace building efforts in the field of the arts, community development, and holistic approaches towards mindfulness and well-being.

One thought on “

  1. Pingback: ArtSeed

Comments are closed.