Deb Shea, in her studio at Art Bias

When was the last time you tried painting a work of art? Or did any arts and crafts? Make time to do so, whether you have the talent for it or not. Research shows that creating art is more than just a hobby – it’s a proven way to heal, rest, and unleash creativity in the human mind. Whether through painting, drawing, sculpture, or other mediums, artistic endeavors offer a sanctuary from the chaos of everyday life, allowing you to unclutter your thoughts and find rest. And not only that; joining Art Bias is also a fun way to be friends with all other aspiring artists in San Carlos and the Bay Area.   

Art Bias stands as a testament to the transformative power of art. As a non-profit organization that supports artists and promotes the benefits of art to the whole community, their programs, workshops, and collaborative initiatives have been changing lives in the Bay Area for more than 30 years.  Art Bias is proud and grateful to have celebrated their 30th Anniversary last year, 2023.

Art Bias is Open to All

This interview is not enough to tell the story the Artists of Art Bias for the past 30 years – the fun-filled memories that colored its corridors and studios. We highly encourage you to visit their monthly programs, and get in touch with them on how to start your journey as an artist.

Art Bias Mike Bam Tyau Presenting His Murals To The Audience In The Event Murals Matter Public Art Transforming Communities At Art Bias

Mike “Bam” Tyau presenting his murals to the audience  in the event, “Murals Matter: Public Art Transforming Communities” at Art Bias

Can you tell us about how Art Bias began in 1993? How did you meet the people who would later become part of the board and staff?

Art Bias was founded in 1993 as the Redwood City Art Center to promote the visual arts with support from the City Council of Redwood City. From the beginning, we have been a non-profit, producing art center which served the community with visual artist studios, exhibition space, and arts education.

Redwood City Art Center lost its lease in 2016 and moved to San Carlos. At that time, our name changed to Art Bias and changes were put in place to make the organization more sustainable.

The 30-year anniversary of Art Bias took place last year in 2023. We celebrated our 30th year last May with a fundraising gala at the Skyway Center in San Carlos with the theme of art’s capacity to lift you to new heights!


How has Art Bias grown, changed, and evolved since 1993 up till today?

Art Bias is still the largest artist studio center on the Peninsula and has 50 studios with 60 artists. Over the last few years, Art Bias has become a more inclusive art center that uses art as a form of connection and contributes to the vibrancy of our neighborhood in San Carlos and the Bay Area beyond.

Art Bias has evolved into a resource for the entire community, not just our studio tenants, who want to get involved in the arts and benefit from its myriad benefits and is welcoming to all ages and all Bay Area geographies.

We are purposely and actively becoming more inclusive in terms of age, artistic medium, race, and life experience so that everyone feels welcome and can benefit. So many community members and organizations want to utilize the arts that its hard to keep up with the demand since we are still functioning with minimal part time staff and volunteers.

Artists sell their work from their studios, meet collectors in their studios, and teach classes from them, as well, but art as a business is just one facet of what Art Bias does now. We are now especially focused on highlighting the benefits of art and its positive contributions to society.


I was struggling working from home because there was no space to tap into my full potential.

I could not leave any tools or gear laying around because things would get moved around by my kids.

I had no space to think creatively and I felt unprofessional having curators meet me in my living room at home.

But this has all changed thanks to Art Bias.

Aaron Alvarez Mendoza

Media Artist

Art Bias Artist Michael Endicott In His Studio At Art Bias

Michael Endicott, in his studio at Art Bias

For me, there is a comfort of comradery in being in the midst of the buzz at the Art Bias beehive. Art matters as a catalyst for crystalizing community.

As a species, we are extremely social creatures, and we learn most quickly and strongly through direct experience.

It is by sharing stories that we strengthen interpersonal bonds, establish community norms, and periodically reexamine presumptions and prejudices.

Michael Endicott

Art Bias has changed dramatically since my first association with them in 2018. It has grown into more of an art center dedicated to artists growth and support as well as community arts outreach.

I am so proud to be a part of it and so thankful for the leadership and hard work of management and board in what it has accomplished.

Deb Shea

Pastel Artist

Throughout my short time here (around 2 years), our community presence and recognition have grown.

We see more and more visitors at events, and with the help of some grants, we are exploring ways to connect with members of the community who face barriers to engaging with the arts.

Liz Broekhuyse

Art Bias has nicely developed these past few years integrating the artists and their studios with the community thanks to the innovative leadership.

Greta Waterman


Art Bias Artist Shari Bryant In Her Studio At Art Bias

Artist Shari Bryant in her studio at Art Bias

When I joined Art Bias in 2019 the artists were considered “tenants” and nothing more. Art Bias is now an Art Center that not only serves their artists, but also the community at large.

There are so many opportunities to work with high school students, the elderly, the mentally and physically challenged. Visitors to Art Bias can feel the love.

Linda Manes Goodwin

Art Bias is a community of genuine art lovers that support each other and the community in large.

I can see how over the years Art Bias has become more integrated into the local community and is able to provide more art and healing-art opportunities for people.

Art Bias strives to make arts accessible for kids, teenagers, adults to express their feelings (grief support) and to open up to their creative flow through the classes, exhibits and workshops.

Yelena Joy

Art Bias Art Bias Artist Inna Zatulovsky Teaching A Classroom Of Participants From One Step Beyond

Art Bias artist Inna Zatulovsky teaching a classroom of participants from One Step Beyond, an ongoing class offered by Art Bias, how to make oshibana, art from organic materials like dried petals and leaves

What are the most memorable memories you have of Art Bias since the time you started?

Tom Chapman, Art Bias’ site manager for nearly 30 years says “The most memorable thing that has happened was when we were losing our location in Redwood City, and found our current building in 2015. We were actually about one month from being homeless, and our current board president at the time, Ro Fischer, found our current building. We were really embraced by the City of San Carlos. We had a grand opening where the Mayor and Chamber of commerce came out to celebrate the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.”


It’s interesting to read about the background of the different Volunteer Board and Staff of Art Bias; how people from widely different backgrounds (game developers and jockeys) share a common interest in Art. Can you tell us more about the volunteers and artists from Art Bias? Perhaps how they started and got involved in the arts.

Terra Fuller has been the Executive Director of Art Bias for two years, and she is the first professional Executive Director the organization has had. Terra joined Art Bias with 20 years of experience in helping to run community-based arts organizations from San Francisco to the East Coast and internationally – as far away as Morocco and Namibia. She is a multi-disciplinary artist herself and has studied both art and arts administration both in undergraduate and graduate school.

Terra says, “Just one of my many goals is to work with our board, neighbors, and partners to transform of Art Bias into an organization that is more representative of the diverse Bay Area and San Mateo County around us, which is one of the most diverse areas of the country. From changing our artist selection process to the kinds of activities that Art Bias engages in, we are becoming more intentional and more inclusive and, I think, much more interesting in the process.”

Shana Bryant is a board member who also is an avid comic artist, a published author, and has a 22 year history in the video game industry. If you are a video game fan, she probably has had a hand in crafting some of your favorites. Her sister, Shari Bryant, started renting a studio at Art Bias, Shana was surprised to learn that Art Bias was 30 years old because she had never heard of it. Shana decided she would be happy to help Art Bias at the leadership level to increase visibility, governance, and support other artists.

Shana says, “There’s a brilliant artist community right here on the Peninsula, and I want everyone to know!”

Board President Jeanette Karthaus serves as a figurehead who inspires, motivates, and guides the organization. She loves nothing more than gathering people together for community events and says, “I find joy in building and nurturing community. I believe that by engaging with diverse perspectives and experiences, we gain new insights, broaden our horizons, become more empathetic and understanding. “

Rupali Sharma is also a board member and is also a video gaming expert with 15 years of experience working on popular games from Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive. “A big value that Art Bias provides is the wonderful studio for artists in a prime location which empowers artists to be part of community events and have a wider audience reach. Outside work, Rupali explores the visual arts and is known for her impressive Bollywood dance skills.

Art Bias Art Bias Artist Sophie Zhu Teaching Chinese Brush Painting At The HIP Housing Residences In San Mateo

Art Bias artist Sophie Zhu teaching Chinese brush painting at the HIP Housing residences in San Mateo, an ongoing class offered by Art Bias

Art Bias Nate Pyzik Leading A Dance Warm Up For The Art And Grief Session Last Week

Nate Pyzik leading a exercise helping use dance to process grief at the “Creative Echoes: Art as a Path Through Grief

Art Bias Yoko Tahara Bottom Right Teaching Linocut Printmaking With Sequoia High School Youth Mentees An Ongoing Program Offered By Art Bias

Yoko Tahara, bottom right, teaching linocut printmaking with Sequoia High School youth mentees, an ongoing program offered by Art Bias

Art Bias Opening Reception Of Retrospective For Kids Art

Opening reception of retrospective for Kids & Art

Can you tell us more about First Sunday Open Studios? Also about the monthly Life Drawing Lessons? What usually happens during these events?

Art Bias has monthly Open Studios where we have a rotating mix of activities. Every month is different! Anywhere from 10 – 35 artists open their studios, there are hand on art activities, often a high school musician plays, opening receptions for the exhibitions in Studio 114 take place. Art Bias also hosts a number of pop ups during these events – from Indian street food to handmade jewelry, ceramics, florists, and more.

Art Bias also has a Holiday Art Market each December which is a very festive time to visit and shop for one of a kind art to give as gifts. Silicon Valley Open Studios happens every May and we usually get hundreds of visitors during the weekend.

Art Bias also presents topic specific events. This week we offered Creative Echoes: Art as a Path through Grief. Artists shared how they have used the arts to process grief in an array of mediums, from sound vibration to performance, music, movement, and visual art. This was for a general audience and participants didn’t need any background in the arts but was a chance to incorporate a healthy coping mechanism into the lives of participants.

We had an event around the importance of murals in community life titled Mural Matter and how murals reflect the shared values of a community. Five well known muralists, including fnnch, Morgan Bricca, Mike ”Bam” Tyau, and Carlos Kookie Gonzalez and others presented and shared their work and processes with the attendees. We have also hosted curatorial talks where gallerists and curators like Pamela Walsh, Alyssarhaye Graciano, and Kevin B. Chen have shared their philosophies and advice, tips on how to get gallery representation and wider viewership.

Art Bias shows up at community events, such as the Filoli Art Walk. We have participated in Hometown Days and the Art & Wine Faire, and will participate in an Art on the Square this summer in Redwood City. And yes, we host a life drawing session every last Thursday of the month. Life drawing helps to teach artists to observe what living things look like in natural motion, to convey movement through proportions and practice techniques like foreshortening. This is selling out and the small entrance fee goes back to pay the model.


For you, what’s the most memorable exhibit or workshop you’ve had in Art Bias?

Studio 114 has hosted dozens of exhibitions. Many exhibitions are solo exhibitions by artists at Art Bias, for example, Deb Shea has an exhibition coming up called Space to Bloom of her large scale florals. Other times artists curate group shows such as Alan Hart’s Nature Stories, an exhibition of 10 local photographers’ exploration of the natural world. A photography exhibition called 85560+: Photos of 12 Kyiv Photographers Made since February 2022 curated by Aliona Kuznetsova was especially poignant.

Some of the exhibitions showcase the important work that local nonprofits are doing and how they use the arts to. We have hosted retrospective exhibitions of Kids & Art, which is a group of volunteers who use the arts to help pediatric cancer patients, and of HIP Housing, who run an annual calendar contest made of youth artwork to make visible the fact that youth are some of the main beneficiaries of affordable housing. We had an exhibition of artwork made by foster youth at Alternative Family Services, and we are working with CORA uses the arts for therapy so we are working on an art exhibition presenting their work.


How does being an artist and being involved in the arts help you as a whole? What’s the best thing about being an artist, no matter what profession you come from?

Making art has always been an activity which is essential to my wellbeing – a day where I make something with my hands is always going to be a good day.

The process of experimenting with materials and thinking while I am making is so absorbing that all my worries can slip away.

Liz Broekhuyse

Art Bias A Session Of Figure Drawing

A session of figure drawing

I originally started painting as a way to ease stress from my job, which was being a horse jockey. It was very relaxing, and eventually I started doing painting for the people that I rode for.”

“It’s since evolved into being the building manager here at Art Bias, teaching classes, and continuing to do my own artwork.

It’s pretty cool to be able to have an idea, put together the raw materials, and then use all my skills to create a one of a kind painting.

Tom Chapman


Couldn’t live without it! The arts mean everything to me. My mental health and soul are nourished everyday.

Being an artist is a dream come true!” She continues, “The best part about being an artist is the freedom to create magical beauty and share with others.


Deb Shea

Pastel Artist

Being an artist, improv comedy performer and teacher has provided me with a deep understanding of the value of play. I continue to dedicate my creativity to help others embrace the healing power of humor.

Recently. I survived cardiac surgery and 10 days in the ICU due to related complications. When I was well enough I started drawing character sketches of the doctors, nurses, and entire support care providers while under their care.

Going into the hospital with a sketch pad, pens, and pencils might seem odd, but for me watching the staff at Sequoia Hospital Cardiac Unit laugh at their portraits help me get through this very non-funny time..

Terry Sand

Being in the arts can be a magical, life affirming endeavor. I feel called to bring beauty into this challenging world…not just superficial beauty but the transcendent kind that uplifts and inspires others.

It’s a privilege to work with my hands. It’s fun and surprising and scary and a hell of a lot of work!

Art is a great “coach”. I see more of myself – the patterns and stories that keep me constrained in my life show up in my art too. It’s a path to breaking free of those chains and ways of being. Art has been a liberating force for me.

Ellen Brook

Painter and Textile Artist

Art Bias Artist Yunan Ma In Her Studio At Art Bias

Artist Yunan Ma in her studio at Art Bias

As a non-profit organization, how does Art Bias use art to help the community?

Artists at Art Bias are teaching out in the community more than ever, sharing the arts with those who have not had access previously. We have rotating exhibitions that encourage viewers to get involved in the arts community and everyone is invited to our free First Sunday Open Studios.

Many of our artists are teaching people in the community who may not have access to the arts in the past, for example, seniors living in low income housing (HIP Housing) and people with intellectual disabilities (One Step Beyond). We have a mentorship program for youth at Sequoia High School who come for an entire year and receive over 40 two-hour art lessons, cultural field trips, and an exhibition showcasing their work at the end of the year. Over the year, the youths develop both personal and professional relationships with their mentors and other artists in our community who serve as guides and resources as they get older. More info about these programs are below:

Art Bias uses art to bring the community together to connect on a variety of topics. Our mentorship brings together at-promise Sequoia High School students for a year of portfolio development, hands-on art making, and field trips led by professional artists. Each student receives approximately 40 weekly meetings of 2 hours/80 hours of instructional time with the artist mentors annually. The central goal of this mentorship is to build creative confidence of youth while fostering a collaborative community that brings together a diverse range of voices.

The artists chosen to serve as mentors are all working artists experienced in a variety of techniques such as weaving, fashion design, upcycling, sewing, painting, portraiture, and Chinese brush painting. The mentor artists in this project have diverse backgrounds and speak multiple languages including Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, and Czech, including English.

Low-income Seniors living in HIP Housing residences. Professional artists teach hands on art classes such as creative collage, flower pastels, mosaics, cardmaking, the Japanese art of floral arranging, Chinese Brush Painting, and more. These are specifically geared for those that may have limited finger movement and little English comprehension.

Individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. Our fine art classes are offered in partnership with One Step Beyond in San Carlos whose mission is to provide dynamic programs and services to individuals who have intellectual disabilities so they may achieve their goals and become fully participating members of our communities.


Please feel free to add anything else in this blog interview? Any message you have for our readers?

Please engage with us – visit our free First Sundays Open Studios from noon – 4:00 PM, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter on our website, and follow us on Instagram @artbias.1700

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