Root Division

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Root Division is a visual arts non-profit that connects creativity and community through a dynamic ecosystem of arts education, exhibitions, and studios.

OUR MISSION Root Division's mission is to empower artists, promote community service, inspire youth, and enrich the Bay Area through engagement in the visual arts.

OUR VISION Root Division’s vision is to be a model of creative excellence, sustainability, and collaboration as it empowers emerging artists to amplify art’s positive impact on society.

BRIEF HISTORY Three MFA graduates founded Root Division in 2002 as a way to constructively address the challenges facing emerging artists and to remedy the lack of arts education in schools.

In 2004 we opened Root Division’s first home, located on 17th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District, where we resided for ten years. Root Division runs four interconnected programs – Studios, Youth Education, Adult Education, and Exhibitions & Events – which link diverse audiences and interests in mutually beneficial relationships. Our programs not only nurture creativity, but also foster volunteerism and community engagement that is vital to the social, economic, and cultural health of the Bay Area.

Throughout its history, Root Division has forged strong connections with the community to provide:

• Subsidized studio space for more than 130 emerging artists • More than 4,000 hours of free art classes for neighborhood youth • Training for 240 artist-teachers • Onsite adult art classes for 1,500 students • Exhibitions of work by more than 1,700 artists • A gathering place for more than 32,000 visitors to meet artists and see their work • Partnerships with two-dozen public schools and community centers, and more than 150 local businesses [1]


1059 Market St.

Contact Information

(415) 863-7668


Three MFA graduates

Dates of Operation


Type of Space


Community Served

local bay area artists/youth

Additional Information and Resources

About this Article

This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.