VISUAL THINKING STUDIOS

VTS in San Francisco Bay Area

VTS facilitates systemic change in how students learn and how teachers teach, placing art in its rightful place as a core learning strategy in schools. Our goals include giving students of color access to cultural capital that builds their critical thinking muscles, communication skills, and an image bank numbering well over 100 works of art that they have rigorously engaged with in a spirit of discovery and possibility.

The success of VTS in California is due, also, to the collaboration of the state's world-class museums and arts centers.

Click to learn more about VTS in California's regions:

City and County of San Francisco

In the San Francisco Bay Area, VTS is transforming the largest concentration of VTS schools in the country – a thriving community of 45 VTS schools: 39 that have graduated, and 6 that are currently partnering with us on VTS Core School implementation, refining their VTS practice over three years.  VTS engages all students in lively discussions about art, nurturing their ability to critically examine anything new to them, across the curriculum and in the greater world. VTS supports students where they need it most: developing critical thinking, communication skills, and the habit of meaningful collaboration that supports them to be successful 21st-century adults.

(Year Started in Parentheses)

San Francisco USD:
  • Daniel Webster (2014)
  • Creative Arts Charter School (2014)
  • San Miguel Early Education School (2015)
Concord: Mt. Diablo USD:
  • Meadow Homes ES (2014)
Union City: New Haven USD
  • Cesar Chavez Middle School (2014)
San Jose: Evergreen USD
  • Montgomery ES (2013)

Schools We've Worked With:

San Francisco USD:
  • Argonne ES (2006)
  • Bessie Carmichael ES (2006)
  • Buena Vista Horace Mann (2006)
  • Cesar Chavez ES (2007)
  • Cleveland ES (2012)
  • Commodore Sloat ES (2008)
  • Dianne Feinstein ES (2007)
  • Glen Park ES (2008)
  • Grattan ES (2005)
  • Guadalupe ES (2005)
  • Lafayette ES (2010)
  • Lilienthal Alternative (2010)
  • Marshall ES (2003)
  • McKinley ES (2004)
  • New Traditions ES (2006)
  • Peabody ES (2007)
  • Redding ES (2005)
  • Sherman ES (2006)
  • Sunnyside ES (2006)
  • Sutro ES (2007)
  • E. R. Taylor ES (2007)
  • Tenderloin Community (2010)
  • UCSF Child Life Department, USF Children’s Hospital (2007)
  • West Portal ES (2006)
  • Yick Wo ES (2005)
Berkeley USD: 
  • Le Conte ES (2008)
  • Longfellow MS(2010)
  • Rosa Parks ES (2005)
Emery USD:
  • Anna B. Yates ES (2007)
Oakland USD:
  • Kaiser ES (2008)
  • New Highland Academy (2010)
  • Redwood Heights ES (2010)
  • Sequoia ES (2007)
Mill Valley USD:
  • Edna Maguire ES (2010)
  • Park ES (2009)
  • Old Mill ES (2009)
San Jose: Evergreen School District
  • Cadwallader ES (2012)
San Rafael: Dixie USD:
  • Silviera ES (2006)
Union City: New Haven USD
  • Conley Caraballo High School (2011)

San Francisco Museum/Art Partners

  • African American Art & Culture Complex, SF
  • Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
  • Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco
  • California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
  • Oakland Museum of California, Oakland
  • Mills College Art Museum, Oakland
  • San Jose Museum of Art
  • Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose

Liz Harvey
Regional Director, San Francisco Bay Area
(415) 243-9325
Email Liz

Liz

Help us bring VTS to our target school population that serves a majority of low-income students of color. Click here to get involved.

Current/Past Funders

  • The Compton Foundation
  • The Haas Sr. Fund
  • Margot Magowan
  • Michael Martin Galleries (MMG) Foundation
  • Panta Rhea Foundation
  • San Francisco Foundation

California Downloads

  • Logo download
  • FAQ
  • Educator quotes
  • Trifold Brochure

Local Resources

VTS in California is made possible by generous grants from the following:

  • Ginn Family Foundation
  • Good Works Foundation
  • MMG Foundation
  • San Francisco Foundation
  • Sonoma Valley Education Foundation
  • Anonymous

Success Stories

"After three years I've seen tremendous growth. VTS increased oral language, confidence, observation skills, and metacognition. VTS builds community among my students as they absorb and modify each other's observations, constantly building a greater level of meaning from the art." -Elizabeth Levett, Kindergarten Teacher, Sunnyside ES, SFUSD

"The VTS program gave me the much-needed language, 'What do you see that makes you say that?'; I use VTS every time I ask students to interpret what they see, hear, or experience." -Carol Converse, Kindergarten Teacher, Sunnyside ES, SFUSD

"When the new superintendent said to focus on equity I immediately drew the connection between equity and VTS. VTS gives everyone a chance to share their prior knowledge and experiences in a supportive and encouraging environment." -Lisa-Anne Lee, Third Grade Teacher, Sunnyside ES, SFUSD

"Everyone has access [with VTS.] Kids speak, they find their voice." -Jim Dwyer, Fourth Grade Teacher, Commodore Sloat

"I love that VTS exposes my children to a variety of works of art and they are learning how to look deeply and state their own observations and form their own opinions. I also like that they must listen to the other students and can practice respectful, collaborative discussions. I don't consider myself an artist, but I have long appreciated many kinds of art and I want my children to be able to experience the same joy in art that I have found. I think exposure to art is critical to their well-rounded development. VTS is cool because the techniques can transcend art and positively support other aspects of their learning." -Penny Peak, Leconte ES Parent, Berkeley, CA