Creativity. Collaboration. Confidence.

San Diego, CA   |


ArtReach ignites youth creativity through visual arts expression and community connection.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Sarah Holbach

Main address

2399 5th Avenue

San Diego, CA 92101 USA

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NTEE code info

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

ArtReach addresses arts equity via free and reduced-cost programs for K-12 San Diego County Schools. Many schools have spent more than a decade without art. We believe all young people need the opportunity to learn technical skills, collaborate with educators and peers, and gain confidence in taking creative risks. Since 2008, the ArtReach team has worked to increase visual arts education in schools that otherwise have no formalized art instruction. Each lesson introduces new art materials, new skills, new vocabulary, and a new way to communicate individual ideas. We focus on helping each young artist find a personal artistic voice and confidence in facing artistic challenges. ArtReach is all-inclusive, and children of all abilities are involved in each lesson.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

In-Class Visual Arts Programs

Standards based and Art Workshops for schools throughout San Diego County. Offered at no cost to Title One Schools when funds are available. Offered at low cost year-round.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

ArtReach believes in the power of community and art to change lives and spaces. A mural offers a chance for people to work together while creating something transformative and lasting for their site. We work directly with youth at schools and community centers in the ArtReach Mural Program to dream up collaborative site-specific murals that represent their vision.

We are here to find out what you see for your walls. What reflects and is important to your community?

*Engagement in Creative Placemaking
*Youth Collaboration: problem solving and achieving artistic success from concept to completion
*Project Leadership: experienced management and team of professional Mural Teaching Artists
*Art Skill Building: demos and hands-on creation with painting techniques, color theory, composition, and design
*Mural Arts Education: historical and contemporary connections with a focus on San Diego mural makers
*Community Paint Days: inviting wider community to connect through contribution

*School/Center Pride
*Individual Self-Confidence
*Collaborative Empowerment
*Learning New Art Skills
*Transformation of Space

ArtReach Tailors Workshops to Your Needs: Create a painted mural anywhere on your campus. ArtReach is happy to fit your site’s aesthetic and curatorial requests that are appropriately tailored for your students’ ages and skill set. Indoor and mobile murals on canvas are an option if your outside walls are not.

Ages: K-12
Location: Any school site or community center in San Diego County

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Young adults
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Community Programs offer creative youth development artist-led workshops outside of normal school hours. Students in non-traditional school settings benefit from our curriculum adjusted for smaller class sizes, a variety of learning needs, and flexible student schedules.

Culture, Art, and Worldbuilding Workshops // Ages 11-24: After-school workshops at a school or community site.

Community. Access. Connection. Workshops // Open to all ages: Community workshops at ArtReach Studio HQ. No participants will be turned away for lack of funds.

Youth ArtReach Studio
Y.A.S. Family // Ages 6-12: Weekend make-and-take workshops for families at ArtReach Studio HQ.
Y.A.S. Teen // Ages 13-18: Evening workshops for teens at ArtReach Studio HQ.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


Top Rated Nonprofit 2010

Level III Seal of Approval (Highest Level) 2013

Arts Education Resource Organization San Diego County Office of Education

Top Non Profit 2014

Level III Seal of Approval (Highest Level) 2014

Arts Education Resource Organization San Diego County Office of Education

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants attending course/session/workshop

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

In-Class Visual Arts Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Total number of students participating in ArtReach in-school programs each year.

Number of individuals attending community events or trainings

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Families

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

ArtReach Vision: Our overall vision is accessible, engaging art instruction for all young people regardless of economic, social, or physical barriers.

Overall Impact:
ArtReach provides equal access to creative thinking and creative doing. Many studies connect art making to improved grades, attendance, test scores and confidence. ArtReach facilitates improved morale and a creative culture on the campuses we serve. Teachers morph our lessons into the foci for other subjects. Art shows blossom. Murals take over plain walls, mosaiced outdoor art blooms in the gardens. Ultimately, we hope to be agents of change so that entire schools and community centers take part in contributing to a creative campus year-round.

Strategic Goals:
ArtReach strives to accomplish these strategic goals each year:
Identify 20 or more schools that qualify for free programs each year. Criteria include: Title I School, no existing art program, no resources for a program, compelling reasons. Applications are scored on each criterion and queued according to date received. ArtReach provides as many free programs as funding allows.

Provide fee-based worked to schools with the ability to pay for programs.

Maintain high levels of quality control for in classroom work via teacher evaluations, student assessments and teaching artist feedback.

Engage teaching artists that reflect, not only a commitment to teaching art skills, but also dedicated to helping each student find a personal voice and personal satisfaction in creating art.

Connect with the community (parents, teachers, stakeholders, businesses) to widen advocacy to create arts rich schools. ArtReach belongs to arts education advocacy organizations, attends conferences, partners with other organizations and businesses on a regular basis to widen the arts education net.

Connect with artists and other arts organizations to provide the most robust programming possible.

Maintain and nurture and involved and educated board and artistic team.

Plan proven fundraising strategies for each year.

Student/School Learning Goals:
Learning goals include these significant milestones:

Increased Individual self-confidence and comfort with expressing creatively
Increased confidence in utilizing new art skills and working with new art media
Collaborative empowerment through working as a group to create, curate and exhibit artwork
A fostered connection to historical and contemporary artists and the work they create
A safe, encouraging environment that engenders out-of-the box thinking and creative risk-taking
Schools undergo a transformation of space leading to feelings of school/center ownership

Access for Schools with Limited Resources
ArtReach addresses inequity and lack of access by providing schools that meet need criteria (Title I school, no existing visual art program, no resources to fund such a program) an opportunity to apply for a free, standards-based visual arts education program. ArtReach widely publicizes free and low-cost program opportunities via the internet, announcements at conferences and meetings, and word of mouth. The number of schools included in the free/low-cost program each year depends on ArtReach resources. Generally, we work in about 20 schools each year on a first- come/first-served basis. We place additional schools on a waitlist and we contact them as soon as funding becomes available.

Focused & Educated Artistic Team
ArtReach Teaching Artists serve as the ambassadors of creativity on each campus. They keep up-to-date on California Standards for arts education and incorporate them into each lesson, but they also encourage critical and creative thinking by giving young people the tools to express an individual vision during each session. ArtReach shares best practices for instruction/social justice issues and more via conferences and internal meetings. Perhaps most importantly, ArtReach works hard to partner with each campus and address specific needs of each school. Pre- program meetings with schools help insure a true partnership. Classroom Teachers remain with Teaching Artists during each lesson and shared lessons plans allow classroom teachers to repeat or reframe ArtReach lessons at a later date.

ArtReach has formed and continues to form many partnerships in the community. Some, like partnerships with schools and school districts, engender better communication, and some, like our long-term partnerships with Knockaround Sunglasses and ArtReach San Diego, result in unique programs and financial support. The Executive Director continues to make connections that strengthen ArtReach’s ability to serve the community.

Our ability to serve rests largely on our ability to raise funds. To that end, ArtReach has a robust fundraising plan in place each year. Our multi-pronged approach includes connecting with individual donors, fundraising events, including a yearly gala called Party ARTy, annual campaigns, grant writing and partnerships. We set goals and achieve them each year. We grow steadily, but carefully

Each ArtReach staff member sees arts education as a right that young people deserve and need. They communicate this passion to connect youth with art making by tireless dedication to creating sustainable partnerships, engaging in ongoing fundraising, creating engaging curriculum, and insuring a meaningful body of work for students, staff, board and volunteers.

The ArtReach board is an integral part of the organization, The Executive Team works closely with the Executive Director and other staff to set goals, budgets, and to brains

Our strength lies in the ArtReach team -- staff, board, community and business partners and volunteers. Further, our infrastructure supports the programs and goals planned by the team. Our commitment to professional development enables staff and board to embrace best practices and engage in important program and practice evaluation.

ArtReach Staff
Sarah Holbach, Executive Director
First as ArtReach Program Manager and now as Executive Director, Sarah Holbach has tripled the school and youth sites served each year. In her first year as Executive Director, the budget grew by 33% She inspires ArtReach Artists to think big while also fostering a meaningful connection between students and art making. She also leads the organization in seeking creative funding and partnerships and works with the board to achieve strategic goals while growing responsibly.

The Program Manager, Mural Program/Special Projects Manager, and Community Liaison round out the ArtReach staff. Each is uniquely suited for their work, and as a team, work seamlessly to deliver sound an engaging programs, while connecting to schools, the community, partners and donors.

ArtReach Board
The business owners, teachers, community leaders, and artists that comprise the board, have worked hand in hand with ArtReach Staff to accomplish goals, set priorities and support the work of the artistic team. For example, in 2019, the Board established a committee for the yearly Party ARTy fundraiser, that worked to fully fund the event (food, entertainment, decor, auction items) so that all proceeds went directly to ArtReach to support free and low-cost programming. This is a milestone for an organization. The commitment of the board fuels the success of ArtReach.

ArtReach has several systems in place that support best practices in accounting, fundraising, risk assessment, staff evaluation and human resources. For example, ArtReach has established a link with Human Resources training and best practices via our insurance carrier, and we use Blackbaud etapestry to track, communicate with and help recruit donors. Our Policy and Procedures Manual keeps the staff and team on the same page regarding employment, and risk assessment issues. The Board continually works to keep policies current with industry standards. We are committed to maintaining an equitable and accessible workplace. Our evaluation procedures help staff and board reflect and go forward.

Professional Development
Arts education requires a commitment to high level teaching practices, continual renewal of creative program planning, a commitment to social justice and equity and participation in the rich arts and education community in San Diego. The staff and board participate in a number of conferences and consortiums to accomplish this, including participating in programs offered by University of California Non Profit Leadership Academy, RISE San Diego, AERO, Arts Empower and more.

In 2007, two sisters, Judy Berman Silbert and Sandi Cottrell, created ArtReach in response to severe educational budget cuts that decimated arts programming in San Diego County schools. The goal? To take artists into schools with limited resources and provide free, standards-based visual arts instruction. In 2008, the unpaid staff of two worked in two schools giving one specific lesson called the Dream Quilt. 470 students participated. By 2014/15, two full-time, paid staff worked together with several local artists to provide free sequential art instruction at 10 schools, fee-based sequential instruction at 12 schools, and free community art making opportunities at 5 events. In 2018/19, 22 schools received free or low-cost programming, and 12 schools paid for sequential instruction. ArtReach also participated in 16 events connecting families to art making. By the end of 2019, ArtReach worked with a total of 31,352 young people. ArtReach has come far.

Numbers do not tell the entire story. The ArtReach commitment to tailoring every program to each site remains the same, as does the commitment to high quality lessons that help young people learn about contemporary artists while using unique art materials and working with artists passionate about growing new generations of creative thinkers. From the start, ArtReach has committed to assessment of programs via teacher and student evaluations including an artistic skill and confidence survey to measure change in student knowledge and attitudes during longer residencies.

The Mural Program, in place since 2018 brings a new option to schools requesting ArtReach programs. Under the direction of muralist Isabel Halpern, students work together to design and paint place changing murals that bring schools and communities together. We are excited to work with research and evaluation specialists to create an evaluation that will measure the program’s impact on students, classroom teachers and the community. In 2019/2020, at least 10 sites will participate in this program.

ArtReach has created strong ties with many school districts and organizations. A new collaboration with the California Center for the Arts in Escondido will connect students in 8 schools in Escondido and San Marcos -- new locations for our program. Both Knockaround Sunglasses and ArtWalk San Diego continue long-term support of our program. And, our individual donor base has grown as well. From our humble beginnings, we have become a well-known arts organization in San Diego.

As for what’s next, ArtReach will continue to grow within our means with the goal of connecting as many young people with artists and art making as our budget allows. As we grow wisely, we look to these future goals:

Expand our office space to include a studio for free and low-cost programs for community youth and teens.

Expand our North County San Diego programs in underserved communities.

Increase programs for middle/high school students

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 01/18/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Susan Wishon

Lori Borg


Sandi Cottrell


Rebecca Chamberlain

Arts Patron

Susan Wishon


Laura Chamberlain


Judy Berman Silbert


Joan Fabiano

Arts Patron

Steve Ross

Akin Gump

Cindy Trunzo

School Teacher

Mike Trunzo


Jenny Luce

Retired Art Teacher

Eric Nicoll

Eric Nicoll

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/28/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/01/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.