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Your Impact

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Please consider a generous, tax-deductible donation to Art Works Downtown  
We invite you to join the AWD Leadership Circle

Founded in 1996, Art Works Downtown (AWD)’s mission is to provide an environment where visual arts thrive for the well-being of our communityWe envision both a place and a mindset that fosters belonging, collaboration and creativity in a thriving arts community to benefit the San Rafael community as well as greater Marin County and beyond. 

Headquartered in a 19th-century historical building on Fourth Street, our comprehensive approach is centered on ‘creative place keeping’ to ensure that artists and the public have a venue to discuss ideas, build community, make art, and celebrate creativity.

AWD’s vibrant arts scene is alive on Fourth Street. The lights are on, people gather, and all are welcomed to connect with the visual arts — to create it, examine it, discuss it and debate the ideas sparked by it. We consider art, community expression, and connection essential for a thriving society. We provide tools like art talks, catalogs, and interaction with practicing artists to enhance education and engagement, to think critically and to be inspired. Our goal is to be a cornerstone of a healthy community.

For example, when our downtown suffered economically, AWD led a six-year campaign that crowned San Rafael as a ‘California state-designated Arts District’ (DSRAD) by the CA Arts Council — one of only 14 cities in the state! — designating San Rafael as the place to go for arts and culture. 

Today, we host our art galleries, arts programming, below-market rate artist studios, living spaces for low income earners, year-round exhibitions and monthly 2nd Friday Art Walk events


In 2023 alone, Art Works Downtown…

  • Raised emergency funds to pay for winter storm damage to the building this year.* 
  • Welcomed 3,000 guests and 500 artists with 28 exhibitions including 2 auxiliary gallery spaces.
  • Held twelve 2nd Friday Art Walks free to the public supported by our 58 artists in residence.
  • Collaborated with our community partners: San Rafael BID, Multicultural Center of Marin, City of San Rafael, California Film Institute, Gallery Route One, Youth in Arts, Marin Society of Artists, Women's EcoArts Dialogue, and Marin Open Studios.
  • With our stakeholders, led the Downtown San Rafael Arts District Launch on October 13. 
  • Awarded 'Marin Best of County', 'Marin IJ Readers Choice', and 'Best of Marin' in 2023.
    * We are still in need of additional $50,000+ to waterproof our offices and ceramic center walls

Looking ahead, Art Works Downtown’s leadership team hopes to invest in four key areas: 

T he Thriving Visual Arts: programming for artists and the public

An Engaged Community: continuous improvement of our membership and public events

A Stronger Organization: implementation of our staffing, IT, communication and funding plans 

Building Infrastructure: repairing our beloved building, an absolute imperative having identified more than 60 ‘Life Health Safety and Building Needs’ projects that must be proactively addressed to ensure its sustainability for generations to come.


Please give generously to support AWD’s impact on everyone in our visual arts-centered community.



Art Works Downtown is a 501(c)(3) public benefit organization and is community supported. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

For donations and sponsorships, please call Elisabeth Setten at 415.451.8119x702, donate online by clicking HERE, or mail your donation to:

Art Works Downtown
1337 Fourth Street
San Rafael, CA 94901

 2023 award logos WEBSITE3