Between its historically low crime rate and recent resurgence of progressive politics, Richmond has been on a winning streak lately, and an essential part of the community's renewed sense of pride has been the Richmond Art Center. The center, which was founded in 1936 by local artist Hazel Salmi, has always been community focused, beginning as a traveling arts program for Richmond youth. It's now grown to serve a dual role as a showcase for emerging and established artistic talent, as well as a place to learn artistic skills. The center celebrates Richmond residents with exhibits such as Unlock the Talk: The American Teenager Project in Richmond, which gave Richmond youth the opportunity to tell visual and oral stories about their peers, and Jive and Java, in which the long-running artist discussion group "The Breakfast Group" relocated its weekly conversations about world events, movies, sports, and art to the center. And staying true to its roots, the center has continued to make teaching a core part of its programming. Each year, it serves 1,800 students through its art classes, and last spring, instructors taught classes to 450 students in thirteen locations throughout Richmond and San Pablo.
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