NIAD Art Center Annual Report 2021/2022

Two NIAD artists, Shawna clapping on the left and Esme with the microphone on the right, attend SFMOMA mini murals
NIAD artists Shawna Kinard & Esme Silva.

Our Mission
NIAD promotes creative expression, independence, dignity and community integration for and with people with disabilities.

Both at NIAD and online I’m inspired by others all the time. By their creativity, and use of color. They all help inspire me to create new projects throughout the week. The teachers are very patient and helpful in supporting these dreams. The students also assist me, when my mind is blank, with new ideas to create.” Samantha Kershnar, NIAD Artist

From Amanda Eicher, NIAD Art Center’s Executive Director

In its 40th year, NIAD is returning to life in-person, even as we have learned volumes about connecting virtually. Managing continual change during a period of growth means NIAD’s artists, staff, families, audiences, collectors and our community of support all hold so much more wisdom, creative understanding, and vision for what lies ahead.

We are stewarding this growth through maintaining a permanent Virtual Studio as well as our 23rd Street Studios, creating new spaces for artists, welcoming new staff and board members, fostering new connections for our artists with galleries and collectors, and revitalizing our storefront galleries as well as our online presence. We recognize the bounty created by NIAD’s long history in Richmond, our community and project partners, and the longevity of our artists, staff members, and neighbors in Richmond and the art world who have strengthened this organization.

As we prepare to meet this expansive growth, we thank all of you who have helped center the voices of NIAD studio artists in redefining the role of contemporary art in civic life. We look forward to a future shaped by the voices of NIAD artists working at the intersection of art and disability!

23rd Street Studio

The last few years have been all about flexibility in NIAD’s 23rd Street Studio—for facilitators and artists. Our Studio Team has been awed by the flexibility of the artists as they continue to adapt, strengthen and grow their art practices. The NIAD team has managed the pace of change through kindness, creativity and empowering and recognizing leadership. Our studio is alive with inspiration in our painting, ceramic, printmaking, fiber arts, mixed media, and growing NIAD Sound Recordings music studio!

Photo: Peter Harris creating in our 23rd Street Studio.

Virtual Studio

This last year saw greater refinement of the virtual studio program. Instructors started using more online tools in their virtual facilitation practices, and artists, who are also more comfortable with technology and used to making artwork online, have started to delve deeper into that side of their practice. Artists and staff are using laptops and iPads to create animation, make music, develop performances and share their work with larger audiences through virtual events and social media like never before.

Photo: Karen May and Julie MacDonald sharing work in our Virtual Studio.

Large group of NIAD artists and Staff out side of SFMOMA

Community Programs

Community Programs supports all aspects of services to NIAD Studio Artists, and provides a liaison to artist teams at home and outside of NIAD. In 2021, Community Programs has adapted, grown, and thrived. Our team continues to meet Community Members where they are with community engagement, services coordination, communication, enrollment, and so much more. We look forward to another year of growth and development.

Photo: NIAD Artists and Staff outside of SFMOMA.

Gallery & Exhibitions

NIAD artists, staff and audiences were overjoyed to return to in-person art openings this Spring. Our gallery continues to exhibit artist-centered, thought-provoking work, inviting over 70 outside and artist curators to envision exhibitions with NIAD artists on 23rd Street and in our online gallery. We have also seen a steady increase in off-site exhibitions, and more collaborations with art institutions and invitations for our artists to participate in diverse public art projects. Our gallery team is inspired by their deepening collaborations with NIAD artists’ visual and curatorial practices.

Photo: Work by NIAD artist Dorian Reid installed at Kapp Kapp Gallery.

Historically, erroneously, the art world and the disability community have been held at separate poles. And it’s wrong to expect them not to go together, as if disabled people haven’t always been active in the art world.” – Em Kettner, Studio Facilitator

A portrait of a woman wearing a red shirt and white apron showing the viewer her necklace

Artist Spotlight: Sylvia Fragoso

One of NIAD’s original studio members, Sylvia Fragoso started making art in her early twenties after joining NIAD in 1984. Over the past thirty-eight years she has produced hundreds of ceramic sculptures, prints, drawings and fiber works with a deep appreciation for the natural world and tied to family, community and gift giving.

Photo: Sylvia Fragoso, smiling showing off her necklace.

Artwork by Sylvia Fragoso.

Recently Sylvia has been focused on rug-making, drawing with crayons and sewing fiber wall hangings. Sylvia cites NIAD studio facilitators Andres Cisneros-Galindo and Chelsea Smith as important figures in her practice and development. Sylvia has exhibited globally at numerous galleries and art fairs, and her work resides in many private collections. When asked recently what she would tell people about her long tenure at NIAD, she said she loves being in NIAD’s 23rd Street Studio and virtual studio, creating ceramics and paintings, and Chelsea.

Three NIAD artists giving peace signs at the SFMOMA mini mural festival
NIAD artists Shana Harper, Raven Harper and Jonathan Valdivias.

NIAD Numbers in Pandemic Years


Hacer Acma, Saul Alegria, Fabian Arias, Mireya Betances, Eddie Braught, Vanessa Bravo, Jeremy Burleson, Angela Campbell, Miguel Chacon, Deatra Colbert, Heather Copus, Dre’An Cox, Evelyn Davis, MiaMya Dawson, Julio Del Rio, Luis Estrada, Reed Feshbach, Sylvia Fragoso, Janay Futch, Felicia Griffin, Heather Hamann, Thomas Harden, Raven Harper, Shana Harper, Peter Harris, James Heartsill, Shirley How, Rachel Huber, Rebecca Jantzen, Christopher Jimenez-Lopez, Samantha Kershnar, Shawna Kinard, Nathan Lam, Donzell Lewis, Faithe Leyandre, Rae Lorvick-Patt, Julie MacDonald, Sara Malpass, Erika Martinez, Karen May, Aileen McCourt, Jean McElvane, Ann Meade, Marlon Mullen, Halisi Noel-Johnson, Michelle Nonnarath, Michael Nuñez, Vanessa Paniagua, Alan Perez, Jason Powell-Smith, Maria Radilla, Dorian Reid, Shantae Robinson, Carlota Rodriguez, Xiomara Rosales, Joseph Rux, Jesus Salas, Alice Sampson, Shawn Sanders, Esme Silva, Tre’Von Silva, Guadalupe Soto, Louie Spagnola, Mike Star, Danny Thach, Jonathan Valdivias, Christian Vassell, Jonathan Velazquez, Arstanda Billy White, Kiesha White, and Cassara Wong


Ingrid Alonso-Rodriguez, Ember Avalos, Chrissie Bradley, Andrés Cisneros-Galindo, Kieren Dutcher, Amanda Eicher, Ocean Escalanti, Arden Fredman, Gabriel Garza, Liam Golden, Liliana Herrera, Kim Huhta, Em Kettner, Steen Kjorlie, Terri Moore, Tara Neuffer, Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh, mara poliak, Julio Rodriguez, Chelsea Smith, Joshua Solis, Emma Spertus, Shantanice Swain, Rebecca Teague, Jovi Vidal, Maria Yates, Isabelle Zhang, and Bill Zindel

Board of Directors

Antonia Dapena-Tretter, Karen DiDomenicis, Pam Martin, Sarah Rothstein, Lauren Vassell, Jay Youngdahl, Lizeht Zepeda


Lauren Ari, Hanka Boudreau, Mary Downs, Nicole Ferdinando, Jil Geller, Dale R.F. Goodman, Julia Goodman, Aimee Graham, Tina Heringer, Lora Mathis, Scott Miller, Lee Miltier, Mary Kate Morris, Madhav Nypath, Meghan Pohlod, Callan Porter-Romero, Armando Resendez, Nik Sokol, Mike and Mia Talkovsky, Margaret Tedesco

Quarterly Advisory Board

Shana Harper, Shawna Kinard, Miguel Chacon, Antonia Dapena-Tretter, Michelle Jones, Pam Martin, Mary Caroline Meade, Erica Milsom, Mya Hodges

NIAD Art Center Donors 2020/21

James Aarons, Remi Abbas, Michael Abrams, Janet Ackermann-Davidson, Gale Antokal, Jenny Balisle, Ruby Bayson, Lorri Berenberg, Bert Berry, Danielle Cocilova Bier, Joan Blevens, Hanka Boudreau, Melanie Bown, Henry Boyle, Sandy Braught, Elaine Brazeal, Elizabeth Brodersen, Janet Brown, Bunny Carter and Courtney Granner, Cidney Carver, Gabriela Castello-Kramer, Susan Chamberlin, Barbara Chan, Alice Chen, Timothy Chen, Phyllis Lee Ciardo, Alice Clenenden, Nan Collymore, William Cone, Patrick Coogan, Jan Corash, Kinshasa Curl, Antonia Dapena-Tretter, Marvie Darden, Noah Dasho, Brionne Dawson, Dale Dawson, Mary Delap, Nick Despota, Karen DiDomenicis, Kieren Dutcher, Deborah Dyer, Suzanne Gordon and Steve Early, Jennifer Easton, Amanda Eicher, Nicole Ferdinando, Eliza Fernand, Paula Fernandez-Baca, Albert Finn, Charmaine Fornoff, Jutta Frankie, Arden Fredman, Juliana Fredman, Alyson Fried, Sarah Galender-Meyer, Alicia Gallo, Steve Garen, Heather Golden, Melissa Gomes, Rosa Gonzalez, Craig Goodman, Katherine Gorman, David Grady, Kathy Grady, Rebecca Granados, Anthony Grant, Stanley and Paula Gudder, Emily Gui, Gina Guidi, Margaret Gutowski, Anne Hannah-Roy, Peter Hass, Barbara Heffel, Braeda Heffernan, Aaron Henkelman and Lori Baum, Irene Hightower, Markus Hill, Xanthe and Jim Hopp, Caryl Horn, Amy Hosa, Susan Hsu, Kook and John Huber, Joyce Huh, Kim Huhta, Cynthia Ona Innis, Judi Jaeger, Harley Jessup, Linda Johnson, Michelle Jones, Michlene Kali, Sharon Kallenberger, Laura Keller, Taylor Kennedy, Sarah Kermensky, Karen Kersten, Katherine Kiehn, Birthe Kirsch, Shiv P. Kumar, Kathy Lam, Doug and Kathleen Lang, Marilyn Langlois, Anh-Minh Le, Louise Leong, Celia Lesh, Cara Levine, Martha Lightcap, David and Susan Linnell, Michael Long, Ralph Lozon, Scott MacLeod, Emeline Mann, Pam Martin, Michael May, Margaret McCarthy, Lisa McCutcheon, S. Alexandra McFarland, Marguerite Meade, Mary Caroline Meade, Anne Mercogliano, Erica Milsom and Ben Choi, Sonia Mistry, Jane Mitchell, Caitlin Mitchell-Dayton, Barbara Moffat, Claudia Molloy, Caitlin Moneypenny-Johnston, Roberta and Tim Montgomery, Mary Kate Morris, Mary Mortimer, Katherine Mothes, Tomoko Murakami, Jamileh Musa, Daniel Nevers, Carol Newborg, Susan Obayashi, Scott Ogden, Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh, Michael and Ann Parker, Elena Passarello, Denise Pate Pearson, Billy Phelps, Louise Pocock, Meghan Pohlod, Carol Poliak, Pamela Polk, Bonnie Pullen, Janeth Radilla, Sly and Julie Randolph, Bob Reid, Cynthia Richards, Katie Rolfe, Elbow Room, Sarah and Chris Rothstein, Lea Rude, Julie B. Rust, Diana Rutley, Jocelyn Saidenberg, Alyson Schacherer, Laurel Scheinman, Michele Seville, Laurel Shear, Adrian Sheppard, Belinda Sifford, Rebecca Silberman, Hannah Slinger, Douglas Smith, Wayne Smith, Edgar Smith, Nik Sokol, Amy Spencer, Emma Spertus, Juliette Spertus, Alise Spinella, Claudia Steinbroner, Kay Stevenson, Jen Stract, Ray Strickler, Anton Stuebner, Nancy Taylor, Pam Thomas, Judith Thomson, Sandi Underwood, John Uribe, Andres and Dana Valdes-Dapena, Letitia Valdes-McGuire, Lloyd and Lauren Vassell, Lexa Walsh, Austin Wang and Vy Duong, Wendy Warren, Gwen Webster, Jessie West, Erin McCluskey Wheeler, Sula Willson, Brian and Deborah Wilson, Alan Wolken, Alice Wu, John and Darcy Yates, Jay Youngdahl, John Ziesenhenne, Bill Zindel, and Nina and John Zurier

Corporations, Foundations and Grants

Amazon Smile Foundation, California Alliance for Arts Education, California Arts Council, California Department of Developmental Services, Clif Bar Foundation, Chevron Richmond Refinery, City of Richmond, Community Foundation Sonoma County, Companion-Platform, Contra Costa County Community Development, Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation, Disney Corporation, Feshbach Family Fund, Grousemont Foundation, Heffernan Foundation, Hyman Levine Family Foundation – L’Dor V’Dor, Magic Cabinet, Marin Community Foundation, Mechanics Bank,  Nall Fund of the Greater Toledo Community Foundation, PayPal Giving Fund, Pixar Animation Studios, Richmond Art Center, Richmond Arts and Culture Commission, Rotary Club of Richmond, San Francisco Foundation, Ship/Art International, Spitfire Communications, WHH Foundation, West Contra Costa County Unified School District, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

In-Kind Donations

Alice Wu, Alicia McCarthy, Andy Ryan, Billy White, Camille Rushanaedy, Chris Ballantyne, Cliff Hengst, Desiree Alexander, East Brother Beer Company, Emma Spertus, Eric Shiner, Erin McCluskey Wheeler, Forager Wines, Ghost Town Brewery, GoldLine Brands – A Winery Group, Janet Moore, Jeff Lee, Jeremy Burleson, Joan Finton Baumrind, Kari Simonsen, Kelly Ording, Leah Rosenberg, Lizeht Zepeda, Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, Maria A. Guzmán Capron, Marlon Mullen, Melissa Gomes, Michele Seville, Nick Despota, Nicole Ferdinando, Robin Biles, Rumi Koshino, Sahar Khoury, Sam Gant, Saul Alegria, Scott Hewicker, Sha-Ron Walker, Simon Tran, Souvenir Bottle Shop, Veronica De Jesus, Woody De Othello

Rami Geller Memorial Fountain Fund

Augustus Ang, Aaron Benavot, Shanni Berry, Frances Greenberg and Donald Chaiken, Community Foundation Boulder County, Avry Dotan, Bruce Ellis, Dan Fendel, Cathy and Howard Friedensohn, Summer Ellis Family Fund, Nancy Gavert, Jil Geller, Leore Geller, Ann Gilbert, Carol Horn, David Berry and Elizabeth Jameson, Karen Jess-Lindsley, Allen and Jan Lev, Melvin Luetkens, Lyn Talkovsky and Kirk Dewalt Lumpkin, Mimi Milania Main, Ma’ayan McClellan, Rory and Rachelle McClellan, Bruce Roland Riordan and Virginia May Miller, Ann Mordine, Zell Nathanson, Rebecca Nelson, John and Saarika Reed, Barbara Abrams and Gary Root, Thomas G. Brown and Hildy A. Sackman, Mary R. Scott, Dan Moshe
Semo, Heidi Shonkoff, Lois Talkovsky, Mike and Mia Talkovsky, and Pesso Yeouda

Win Win 9 Sponsors

Alyson Fried, Adams and Ollman, Anton Stuebner, Antonia Dapena-Tretter, Braeda Heffernan, Companion-Platform, Forager Wines, GoldLine Brands Wines, John Ziesenhenne and Monique LeConge-Ziesenhenne, JTT, Kala Art Institute, Kapp Kapp, Karen DiDomenicis, Kim Huhta & Wayne Magnusen, Laurel Shear, Lea Rude & Bill Zindel, Lexa Walsh, Lizeht Zepeda, Nicole Ferdinando, Pam Martin, Paulson Fontaine Press, pt. 2 Gallery, Patrick Coogan, Ratto’s, Sarah Rothstein, SHRINE, Young Space

Win Win 10 Sponsors

Adams and Ollman, Anthony Meier Fine Art, Antonia and Matthew Dapena-Tretter, Artsource Consulting, Baer Art Projects, Craig Goodman, Creativity Explored, Creative Growth, Dee Bell, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Fraenkel Gallery, Jay Youngdahl, Jenifer and Noah Dasho, Jennifer Lorvik and Family, JTT, Kelsey Nicholson, Kim Huhta and Wayne Magnusen, mack 5 , Makelike, Mechanics Bank, Nicole Ferdinando, Pam Martin, pt. 2 Gallery, Paulson Fontaine Press, Pixar, Rebecca Camacho Presents, Romer Young Gallery, Sarah and Chris Rothstein, SHRINE