Visual Aid
Programs & Services Summary

Michael Beck, Lift Off, oil on canvas


Each year, Visual Aid distributes up to $50,000 worth of art supplies to our artist grantees through bulk purchases and generous donations from retail stores, manufacturers and individuals. Art supplies such as oil paint, canvas, brushes, etc. are purchased by Visual Aid to supply the ArtBank with basic necessities.

Art Exhibitions

Last year, Visual Aid opened a gallery in the historic Mechanics’ Institute Building in downtown San Francisco. The organization presents 15 exhibitions each year in the Visual Aid Gallery, in community spaces such as the SF LGBT Community Center and corporate spaces including One Sansome and MOMs Pharmacy. On occasion, the organization is invited to mount an exhibition at a gallery or art space such as Gallery Paule Anglim or Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Member artists have the opportunity to present their artwork to over thirty thousand Bay Area residents and visitors, and these exhibitions enable Visual Aid to reach out to a broader community. Visual Aid staff and a volunteer X-Team curate and install exhibitions. Exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Click here to see past exhibitions

Voucher Program

Since its founding, Visual Aid has awarded over a quarter of a million dollars in art supplies to Grantees through this program. Member artists can apply for grants in the form of vouchers twice each year. Vouchers are redeemable at over 75 framers, digital labs, sculpture, art and photography supply stores and framers throughout the Bay Area.

Career Resources

The Visual Aid staff is available to assist Grantees with career management, including advice on gallery representation, resume writing and grant proposals.  Internet access, and access to a wide variety of art, health and career resources are available in our Resource Center.

Jerry Frost, Docked, oil on canvas

Workshops & Lectures

Visual Aid holds artists’ talks, walk-through tours of exhibitions, workshops and lectures covering a wide range of contemporary art topics. All are free and open to the public.


Visual Aid maintains slide archives, which provides a record of the artwork of all Grantees.  These archives are used by curators, art historians.

Educational Outreach

Through slide lectures and tours for college and university students, presentations by staff and Grantees to art schools, universities, church groups and K-12 students, this program fosters a continuing interest and engagement in arts education and promotes a dialogue about art and illness.

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