DrawBridge announces 2024 Community Artists and DrawBridge Community Artist Celebration!

For more than 35 years, DrawBridge has provided free expressive arts programs for children across the San Francisco Bay Area. The DrawBridge Community Artist Program, supported by the California Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts, builds on this history of service and connects local artists with youth in shelters, affordable housing sites, and community centers throughout the region.

Each year, five Bay Area artists are selected to receive an honorarium of $1,000 each to develop art experiences and site-specific works with children ages 5-18 in Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties.

Artists are selected by DrawBridge’s Community Engagement Committee and will work closely with program staff to develop community-focused art activities. The program offers artists unique opportunities for authentic dialogue, mentorship, and promotion of their work. DrawBridge will provide all materials and promote participating artists through marketing, press releases, social media, and our website. Established and emerging Bay Area artists are encouraged to apply. 

DrawBridge is delighted to announce artists selected for the 2024 Community Artist Program. Learn more about this year’s artists below as well as those who participated in the 2023 program.


Amalee Beattie
Amalee Beattie is a multidisciplinary artist from Los Angeles. Their work spans experimental poetry/prose/nonfiction, painting, multimedia installation, and the curatorial. Amalee holds a B.A. in Comparative Religions, a minor in Ethnic Studies, and a J.D. degree. Amalee’s practice is grounded in her spirituality and actively considers the connections, tensions, and inquiries that arise across the disciplines and fields she works in. Ultimately, their work deals with the question, “how do we get free?” by navigating personal and communal healing and exploring the limits and potentialities of different media. Their poetry has been published in The Ana magazine.

Amalee will work with DrawBridge youth artists at affordable housing sites in Alameda.

Katie Nealon
Katie Nealon is a poet, artist, and commercial letterpress printer. She has been printing and making books since 2009, was a studio printer, board member, and the president of the North Bay Letterpress Arts nonprofit organization from 2015 to 2020. She currently works as a printer and educator based in Sebastopol, California. As an intern at 826 Valencia in San Francisco, she helped kids and teenagers write their own short stories and poetry, create collaborative chapbooks, and share their work with the world through celebratory readings.

Katie will work with DrawBridge youth artists at Marin County Free Library branches in Marin County.

Richa Priyanka
Richa Priyanka is a Fremont resident and freelance artist specializing in Indian folk art. With an MBA in Human Resources from IBS, Mumbai, India, she’s shifted her career to focus on expressive art. Richa’s creations burst with intricate details and lively colors, showcasing her artistic passion. Her artistic practice is focused on self-discovery and creative expression, creating a nurturing and inclusive environment that celebrates acceptance, communication, and the value of community.

Richa will work with DrawBridge youth artists residing in affordable housing in San Jose. 

Zachary Sweet
Zachary Sweet, a storyteller from Oakland, brings his creative expertise to diverse projects. As an independent animator and illustrator, he currently shares his passion as an animation instructor at the non-profit “Youth Beat,” focusing on empowering BIPOC youth in the creative arts. With a degree from the Art Institute of San Francisco and 14 years of professional experience, Zachary adds vibrancy to the public space through mural painting and active participation in Bay Area art shows. Sweet quietly contributes to the creative community, leaving an impact through his visual narratives and dedication to nurturing the next generation of artists.

Zachary will work with DrawBridge youth artists at shelters and transitional housing in San Francisco.

Patanisha Williams
Patanisha Williams is a fourth generation Oaklander and co-founder of Pata Ali Love Club, a creative enterprise fostering a culture of love. With over 20 years of experience in community development, she has collaborated with schools, community-based organizations, and mental health institutions. A cultural curator, Williams has worked in both traditional and non-traditional art spaces including the Joyce Gordon Gallery, African American Museum and Library, and the Camron-Stanford House and Museum. Patanisha sees creative expression and wisdom as the fabric that binds generations, transmits culture, and restores communities. Her programming, rooted in arts and crafts, prioritizes cross-generational connections for individual and community healing.  

Patanisha will work with DrawBridge youth artists in transitional housing in Oakland.

Special Event: DrawBridge Community Artist Celebration
Monday, March 18, 7-9 pm
The Drawing Room Annex
599 Valencia Street, San Francisco
Free; Reservations are requested by Friday, March 15

Join us as we celebrate recipients of the DrawBridge Community Artist Program and learn about their work with DrawBridge youth artists across the Bay Area.

Following the conversation, enjoy the galleries and view the Drawing Room’s latest exhibition, 2024 WOMEN RISING. Learn more at drawingroomsf.com

Limited parking is available at the venue; public transportation or ride sharing is encouraged. Nearby public parking can be found on Hoff Street. For more information, visit https://www.sfmta.com/garages-lots/16th-hoff-garage


Ashanté J. Ford
Ashanté (Ash) Ford is a queer interdisciplinary artist residing in Oakland, California. In her writing she focuses on themes of healing, growth, and community. Within her artistic practice, she weaves digital media with her words and has been featured at the Multicultural Center, Berkley and the Drawing Room Annex, San Francisco. They were recently named a 2022 Rooted & Written Fellow with the Writer’s Grotto in San Francisco. Learn more at spirituallyajar.blog

Ashante worked with DrawBridge youth artists residing at affordable housing sites in Alameda.

Jasmine Liang joins the DrawBridge Community Artist Program.

Jasmine Liang
Jasmine Liang is a multidisciplinary artist, student organizer, and resident of Visitacion Valley. Through printmaking and digital and alternative photographic processes, Jasmine documents and archives personal and ancestral histories connecting to their hometown of San Francisco. As a co-founder of the Art Student Union at San Francisco State University, Jasmine is committed to connecting community to youth arts organizations and local artists. Learn more at jasmineliang.myportfolio.com

Jasmine worked with DrawBridge youth artists in transitional housing in San Francisco.

Keena Romano joins the DrawBridge Community Artist Program.

Keena Romano
Keena Azania Romano exercises her creative mind through the exploration of diverse artistic mediums as a way to engage and understand individual and collective purpose. Romano received her BFA from Pomona College then returned to her native Bay Area to pursue a career in the arts. Her murals can be spotted from Sacramento, California to Oaxaca, Mexico. Inspired by cultural rituals and practices, Romano combines spirituality with urban experience to produce work that draws upon the quest for a greater understanding of intersectional beauty in this world. Learn more at facebook.com/KeeNaRomano

Keena worked with DrawBridge youth artists in Oakland.

Eduardo Valadez-Arenas joins the DrawBridge Community Artist Program.

Eduardo Valadez Arenas
Eduardo Valadez Arenas is a Mexican-American artist from Mexico City by way of the Coachella Valley. He currently resides and works in the Bay Area. Eduardo’s artworks echo diaspora, his Mexican-American heritage, and influences of California pop culture. His mixed-media works on paper and handmade panels contain elements of cartoon illustrations, sign painting, traditional printmaking techniques, and street art. Learn more at instagram.com/lacocinaloca

Eduardo worked with DrawBridge youth artists in Alameda.

Sharon Virtue joins the DrawBridge Community Artist Program.

Sharon Virtue
Sharon Virtue is a British artist of Jamaican and Irish heritage, living in Fairfax, California, while working internationally in arts and creative community development. She is a multimedia artist, with a BA in Fine art and a Masters in Community arts from Goldsmiths University in London. She has a strong social practice and believes artists are agents of transformation. Learn more at virtuevision.org

Sharon worked with DrawBridge youth artists in Marin City.

This year, artists were selected by a committee of representatives from the DrawBridge board and staff as well as the following local arts leaders:

Demetri Broxton, Artist and Museum Educator
A mixed media artist born and raised in Oakland, Demetri is the Senior Director of Education at the Museum of the African Diaspora. Broxton holds a BFA from UC Berkeley and an MA in Museum Studies from San Francisco State University. His work has been exhibited internationally and is held in several private collections and the permanent collection of the Monterey Art Museum.

Ashanté Ford, Artist and DrawBridge Facilitator
Ashanté (Ash) Ford is a multidisciplinary artist who expresses their emotions through poetry, singing, and abstract art focusing on themes of healing, growth, and community. Ford holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Affairs from San Francisco State University. Ashanté was selected as a Community Artist in 2023 and continues as a DrawBridge facilitator in Alameda and Oakland.

Amy Owen, Curator and Arts Executive
Amy Owen is a Bay Area curator and arts administrator with over two decades of curatorial and executive arts experience. Owen holds a Master of Arts in Curatorial Studies from Bard College and has served in leadership positions at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

DrawBridge expressive arts programming is built on a firm foundation of cultural awareness and sensitivity that reflects and celebrates the creative power of the children and diverse communities we serve. Recognizing that homelessness and housing insecurity disproportionately impacts communities of color, DrawBridge provides a welcome and nurturing space for all, and seeks to employ artists, staff, and volunteers with deep connections to these communities. Learn more at drawbridge.org/about-us/equity.

Funding for the DrawBridge Community Artist Program is provided by the California Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and the generosity of DrawBridge supporters.