Kala Art Institute’s mission is to help artists sustain their creative work over time through its Artist-in-Residence and Fellowship Programs, and to engage the community through exhibitions, public programs, and education.
The heart of Kala’s mission as a vital, California art-making hub is supporting artists and engaging the community. Kala offers professional facilities to those working in and across print and digital media, new media, and performance. Artists at Kala are encouraged to work across disciplines, produce innovative artwork of the highest quality, and are given total freedom to realize their artistic vision using media that span the Gutenberg to digital eras. Kala offers access to equipment, time, and space to cultivate creative projects. Kala’s studios provide tools for printmaking, photography, video, installation, and digital media. Kala fosters a fresh approach to experimentation, as artists investigate the interface of digital work, work made by hand, work made in the studio, performance-based work that engages the community and everything in between. A spirit of exchange and education is nurtured through all Kala’s community programs.
Kala’s creative community builds bridges between the intense art-making environment of the Kala studios, located in the historic Heinz ketchup factory in Berkeley and life outside the studio in Kala’s immediate neighborhood and far beyond. Additionally, Kala is committed to offering quality art education to the general public and public school children through its on-site and online program of classes and workshops, summer programs and its Artists-in-Schools program, established in 1991, providing multiple-week artist-led instruction to students in neighboring East Bay public schools.
Racial Equity Statement
Kala Art Institute is committed to fostering a creative culture and a sense of belonging where artists, cultural workers, and community members have access to resources, freedom of expression, and a range of platforms to share their stories and experiences.
We are prioritizing racial equity internally and throughout our programming by identifying areas where we can grow. We are collaboratively developing guidelines and policies to better serve local constituents, the broader Bay Area, as well as visiting national and international artists.
We are confronting inequities of the past, taking a critical eye to our existing policies and systems, and addressing present day systemic inequities and racial injustice.
We are channeling collective energy into integrating race equity into every aspect of our operations and programs, including but not limited to:
• Bringing together people of differing backgrounds and life experiences to shape and re-imagine the communities we exist in and return to
• Recentering Black, Indigenous, communities of color and people of intersectional identities within BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities
• Widening our programs to be more inclusive and accessible
• Building deeper relationships with our local community
• Contributing to racial equity work in fields that advocate and support artists – artist residencies; printmaking communities; non-profit arts and cultural institutions
We are committed to holding ourselves accountable for prejudiced and racist behavior as we work towards a holistic approach to anti-racist work that is integrated in Kala’s day-to-day operations and throughout each program.
Kala Art Institute envisions a sustainable, equitable, and vibrant future where we invest in expanded resources and learning opportunities for artists and the community, including access to space, tools, and technology for creative projects.
We believe in the transformative power of art to bring communities together, spark dialogue, strengthen neighborhoods, and foster positive social change.
Kala will nurture a culture of creativity, discovery, and mutual respect, connecting artists to community and diverse art practices and building opportunities for inclusion and belonging.
Kala Art Institute is located in Huichin, the home territory of Chochenyo speaking Ohlone people, on unceded Lisjan Ohlone land. While Kala can claim space, the Ohlone community is not federally recognized, has no land base, and has been politically and economically marginalized. We acknowledge that this is a complicated history in which we benefit from the genocide of Indigenous communities past and present. Please join us in reflecting and honoring the sacrifices and invaluable contributions made by the Indigenous culture bearers who came before us and are here now.
We are continuing to learn what has been lost and what has survived. It is important to us that while we recognize the past, we continue to celebrate Indigenous communities today.
For further information on Lisjan history and territory, visit: https://sogoreate-landtrust.org/lisjan-history-and-territory/