Berkeley Community Fund Honors Archana Horsting, director and co-founder of Kala Art Institute

Berkeley, CA – Archana Horsting, director and co-founder of Kala Art Institute has joined the ranks of Alice Waters, Wavy Gravy and other community leaders and activists as the latest recipient of the Berkeley Community Fund’s “Most Useful Citizen” award.

More than 40 years ago, with just a single etching press and a hotplate, Emeryville artists Horsting and Yuzo Nakano started Kala Art Institute, one of a handful of art institutes in the world created by and for artists.

Since 1974, Horsting has sustained and expanded Kala through fires, earthquakes, recessions, and rising rents, always keeping the doors open for anyone and everyone who wants to create art. Kala is unique in that it provides space and resources for emerging and well established artists from all over the world, as well as children and adults in the community, some of whom are creating art for the first time.

Locally, Kala classes draw a diverse group to the studios to learn screen-printing, etching, letterpress, and more. Kala has provided special classes for area businesses including Bayer Healthcare and Pixar.

“We’ve offered 16 classes to Pixar animators since 2011 and these are a huge hit. They didn’t want to leave. They wanted to stay after class and keep working,” said Horsting. “With the increase in technology, there is a yearning to get back to using your hands, to make things in a physical way, to get off the computer. Kala provides an oasis, a place where all people can go to express themselves.”

Kala, which has a gallery and expansive workspace on San Pablo Avenue and Heinz Street in West Berkeley, provides artist residencies, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and professional development for artists. It also offers art classes and workshops to the public on site and through the Artists in the Schools program. About 25,000 people participate in Kala’s programs each year.

“Kala is an incredible place for artists to create and thrive,” said Richelle Gribble, a current Kala fellowship artist from Idyllwild, CA, working across media and focusing on science, art, and social networks.

Horsting is a practicing artist and lives at the Emeryville Artists Cooperative in Emeryville. She was among the first members of the co-op, established in 1980. It is one of the only cooperatives of its kind in the country. Through a competitive selection process, it provides artists in all disciplines, including painting, sculpture, photography, musical composition, and dance choreography, with affordable live work space.

Horsting received the Benjamin Ide Wheeler Award, at the Berkeley Community Fund’s annual dinner on Thursday, October 8th at H’s Lordships Restaurant, Berkeley Marina.

About the Wheeler Award / Berkeley Community Fund (BCF): Since 1929, The Benjamin Ide Wheeler award has been presented to Berkeley’s “most useful citizen.” The Medal is awarded to one person who is selected for their outstanding nonpartisan service in any field of activity that has benefited the quality of life for a significant number of people in Berkeley. Past recipients include Alice Waters, David Brower, Kent Nagano, Wavy Gravy, Susan Medak, and last year, Arlene Blum. For more info please contact BCF Executive Director Joleen Ruffin, at 510-542-2126 or Learn more at