"I love making art because there’s always some way to show who you are. ArtWorks is place where people are passionate about making art."

-Stefanie, student

Our Director

Elana Lutz arrived in the Bay Area shortly after receiving a B.A. in Fine Art from Dickinson College with two main goals: to work with children and to make art. Elana spent a few years working in various childcare settings and showing her work locally in both solo and group exhibitions. She later went on to complete an M.F.A. in Painting at the Academy of Art University.

When Elana first walked through the ArtWorks studio doors in 1997 she knew she had entered into something very special and she simply never left. Throughout the decades Elana has described ArtWorks as a place that has continued to feed her soul as her life has twisted and turned through its many changes and paths. Her devotion and investment to the program and the ArtWorks students remains endless.

"It is so incredibly rare for anyone to have what I've had. I feel so fortunate to be able to continue to give myself fully to this amazing program; to have found a place that I have really grown up in and now that I am growing old in. It is a privilege to spend my days participating in the bustle of the ArtWorks office and corresponding with the families who shape who we are as a community. When I enter into my classes I never take for granted how lucky I am to be able to experience the joy and magic of being in the classroom and to continue to learn as much from my students as I teach them."

Director Emeritus

Eleanor Cohen Louis grew up with an interest in art and was fortunate to find a mentor while in high school. As a result of his support and encouragement, she decided to pursue a career in visual art and sought training to become an illustrator. Eleanor received a B.A. in Studio Art from Pomona College and then attended Art Center College of Design, where she received a B.F.A. in Illustration. During her eight-year career as a freelance illustrator, she became increasingly interested in sharing her knowledge and passion for art, as her mentor had with her. As a result of this interest, she began to teach. She quickly realized how rewarding her work with children and young adults was, and at that point she decided to dedicate herself entirely to teaching art.

After four years teaching art in Southern California, Eleanor moved to the Bay Area. In May of 1994, she opened our studio at its current home in San Francisco. The program was immediately well received. Today, ArtWorks offers its year-round Foundations Program to over 900 students in 77 classes weekly.

As of December 31, 2019, Eleanor retired from ArtWorks and Elana Lutz, 23-year veteran teacher and Associate Director became its new Director. Some parting thanks and thoughts from Eleanor: "What a thrill it has been to be a part of this great community. To our fine students, it has been my great privilege to teach you and to watch you learn and grow. To our wonderful teachers, I’ve been so gratified by seeing the relationships that you cultivate each day and by watching our students flourish under your care. To our families, thank you whole-heartedly for your interest and support of our programs, and sincerest thanks for allowing us this opportunity."

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