Art Bias

Mon-Fri, 9:00AM – 4:00PM | Sat-Sun: Closed
1700 Industrial Rd San Carlos, CA 94070
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Art Bias San Carlos: Empowering Amazing Artists since 1993

Art Bias has empowered hundreds of artists on the Peninsula since 1993, by providing them with the tools and resources they need to thrive, in turn adding vibrancy and creating social change in our community.

Since 1993 we’ve served hundreds of artists on the peninsula by providing affordable artist studios, free professional development resources and workshops, exhibit opportunities and a community of artists interested in each other’s success.

Art Bias is a community where artists have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.

With 50 artist studios under our roof, we are the largest community of artists on the Peninsula.

Established in 1993, ART BIAS is home to 49 studios with room for over 50 artists.

Resident artists work in many mediums, including drawing, painting, Chinese calligraphy, murals, mixed media, assemblage, photography, book arts, film, and jewelry design.

We promote the visual arts in our local communities and the greater Bay Area by providing affordable studio space, art classes, arts activities in the community, scholarships for instruction, and art-oriented events and exhibits.

ART BIAS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Over the twenty-year plus history of the center, we have provided free art programs for community members of all ages and abilities.


A Bias for Art: Finding Inspiration in a Creative Collective

Words by Sheryl Nonnenberg

There is a stereotype about artists working alone in cold, drafty studios, miserable in their poverty and isolation. It might make for good drama but in reality, contemporary artists want and need all the usual creature comforts as well as the camaraderie of fellow creative spirits. That is why places like Art Bias, an artist collective in San Carlos, are so vital both to the individual artist and the community.

Located in the busy industrial area of San Carlos, Art Bias has been in existence for five years, but its inception goes back much further. In 1993, a group of artists joined forces to create the Redwood City Art Center in the downtown area. As often happens, the group was displaced when the building was bought by a developer. Fortunately, a former office building at 1700 Industrial Road became vacant and the artists took the lease on the second floor. Gradually, the first floor area opened up and soon the building filled to its current capacity of 50 studios.

Artists working in a wide variety of media—ranging from painting, drawing and assemblage to photography and jewelry design—occupy the studio spaces, which vary in size from 100 to 800 square feet. Artists are charged according to studio size and are welcome to design and decorate their spaces as they wish. Doors can be closed for privacy and common areas, perfect for conferring with fellow artists, can be found on both floors.
A walk through the collective reveals an amazing array of inspiring spaces, each reflecting the artist’s chosen craft as well as the ability to create cozy yet efficient ateliers.

Open to the public weekdays from 9AM to 4PM, this unique setting exudes a feeling of warmth and welcome, where visitors are invited to enjoy art on display, talk to the artists and, perhaps, make a purchase.

Visit Art Bias on any given day, and you’ll likely find a contingent of artists on-site, since tenants can access their studios 24/7. “This is what is so appealing about a place like this,” observes board president Jeanette Karthaus. “It’s not a static gallery experience.”

Neither Jeanette nor fellow board member Alistair Jeffs are artists but, like the other six members of the board, they bring business and high-tech acumen to the nonprofit. Alistair serves as liaison to the Industrial Arts District, a five-block area designated by the City of San Carlos to support and encourage the arts in the city. “San Carlos has said that arts and crafts are important and has identified this as the area for it,” explains Alistair. He cites a need for artists to have more professional development and business skills—like software knowledge and working with QR codes—and summarizes his goal succinctly: “How can I help the artist thrive and be successful?”

Jeanette is tasked with tenant relations and promoting Art Bias to the community. She also had the difficult job of keeping the organization going through the ups and downs of the pandemic. Closed during the early lockdown phase, the studios reopened for artists as soon as it was feasible. According to Jeanette, tenants were given a discount on rent and Art Bias saw very little attrition during the past two years.

The board is also responsible for the fiscal health of the collective and Jeanette explains that the main income sources are rents and jury fees. Tom Chapman, an artist and the only staff member (he serves as facility manager), has overseen the jurying process for a number of years. Tom shares that five of the resident artists meet to consider applications, which include a portfolio. A four out of five vote is necessary to be accepted and criteria varies but, explains Tom, “The most important thing is that the work is good.”

“We are looking for working artists who are serious enough that they want to invest in a studio,” adds Jeanette. And with such a variety of needs, personalities and media, how does it all mesh? Tom laughs, “It’s like living in an apartment house. Everyone here gets along really well.”

In addition to the individual studios, there is ample space for the display of art. Hallways on both floors serve as galleries, and a large community room features both two- and three-dimensional pieces. Two tenants, Zdenka Bleile and Lindsay Hogue, have stepped into the role of curators, overseeing the quarterly exhibitions throughout the building.

“To be honest, we stumbled into it because we have been here since the art center moved to this location,” says Zdenka. “We ask artists to submit paintings and select groupings that work well together. We have a hanging system so we hang all the paintings ourselves.” All of the art on display is available for purchase with 100% of sales revenue going directly to the artists. Artists are also allowed to teach in their spaces.

These displays and Art Bias’s involvement with outside events like Silicon Valley Open Studios promote the artists’ work to the public. Jeanette says that the entire community comes together for the Open Studios and their own holiday events. “That’s when you really get to understand how magical this place is,” she notes.

Each artist has the opportunity to show their work and to interact with visitors, explaining their background and process. “There are artists in studios working,” notes Jeanette. “It’s not just a showcase.” The board deemed these events important enough to embark on a new program, First Sunday Open Studios, which began in March 2022.

Jeanette speaks with justifiable pride about the continued success of Art Bias and how the tenants reflect the community at large. “In terms of diversity, race, age and media, it’s all here,” she says.

Jeanette is also quick to point out that it is not the physical plant that makes this venture work so well. “The building is not the draw here,” she reflects. “This is an older building in an industrial part of town—it really is the community.”


Art Bias Official Website 

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