ARTogether is based in the Bay Area, the occupied, ancestral lands of the Ohlone people, who have stewarded and honored this land throughout generations and are still here. We acknowledge the ongoing legacies of violence against indigenous communities and people of color in this country that provide a context for our work.
ARTogether’s mission is to provide art programs that foster compassionate communities where refugees and immigrants can flourish.
We envision a world where there are no barriers—or borders—to art and creative expression, where everyone is welcomed and their stories have impact.
Art plays a special role in the refugee communityFor refugees and immigrants moving to the United States, the journey has just begun. ARTogether offers programs that reach out to refugees and immigrants, providing welcoming, creative spaces for local refugees and immigrants to connect with their community. Our goal is to build communities and promote long-term prosperity for refugees and immigrants, even after assistance from initial government and NGO resettlement programs has ceased. For these programs, art is our social glue, its universality binding us all together. It invites conversation, laughter, storytelling and a sense of belonging. At the community level, it has a unique ability to bring people together, to draw together people from different backgrounds and forge connections through creativity and self-expression. Finally, art transcends the spoken word, allowing people to communicate and express themselves without the burden of language barriers.
ARTogether’s programs are designed to:
To better serve our community and reach out to new refugee and immigrant communities, we partner with a number of organizations that already offer a spectrum of vital services to these communities. Below are some of our strongest partners, both past and present.
For more in-depth information about ARTogether and its programs, please see our annual reports and our monthly newsletter below.
Miles is a long-time web designer who has spent most of the last decade living in Oakland, Cairo and New Orleans. He has a BA in Religious Studies and Music from UC Santa Barbara, and recently moved back to Oakland where he works on ARTogether’s new art programs. Miles believes deeply in making art accessible to every community, and is looking forward to ARTogether’s new music programs.
Polina Marso is a visual artist, female rights advocate, and a champion for refugee and immigrants’ rights. Born in Moscow, Russia, she immigrated to the United States where she earned her BFA in illustration from the California College of the Arts. She has worked with ARTogether since 2020 as an Art Teacher, Graphic Designer and Program Manager. Polina uses art as an indispensable tool for enhancing mental well-being and promoting positive change. As a Program Manager for a Community Arts and Wellness program, Polina brings her artistic prowess and her innate desire to help people into full synergy. She champions the cause of inclusivity, empowerment, and the transformative power of art with programs such as ARTogether Summer Art Camp and Creative Youth Program. Outside of ARTogether Polina writes and illustrates for an online feminist publication based in Russia.
Sabina Shanti Kariat is an Indian-American animator, artist, and filmmaker based in San Francisco. She has created animations for documentary films about the 1960’s American civil rights movement, the history of Japanese-American incarceration camps in California, the impact of the criminal justice system on refugees, and loss of native languages among immigrants. She is also a story artist on short animated films that bring BIPOC characters into surreal worlds. Sabina has been a teaching artist throughout San Francisco, and has led co-creation workshops in the Bay, in rural Jharkhand India, and in Istanbul and Reyhanli, Turkey. She is a nerd about traditional shadow puppets, reads poems about horses, and is interested in the relationship between diaspora and memory.
Celeste Tretto is an economist and a data scientist with a passion for women’s empowerment. She has a MS in Finance from the University of Lugano in Switzerland and a MS in Mathematics and Applied Statistics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. After moving to the Bay Area she became involved in working with grassroots organizations focused on services that foster healthy and inclusive communities. Before ARTogether, she volunteered for organizations that offer business education programs for low income women. Celeste is currently the Chair of ARTogether’s Board of Directors.