Artist Outreach gives accomplished visual, performing and literary artists the opportunity to share their passion and expertise with under-served members of our community.

Selected artists, age 55 and older, contribute to their community by providing educational, mentoring and/or therapeutic art experiences to under-served groups. These art experiences are intended to reach people of any age group who might not otherwise have opportunities to enjoy the benefits of quality arts programs. Artists applying for the grant propose the arts programming they wish to provide, identify the population they are interested in serving, and choose a local nonprofit to collaborate with.

Grant Amount: Artists selected for the grant will receive $15,000 to contribute 6 hours a week to their program with participants over the course of one year.

Eligibility: To be eligible for this grant, artists must be at least 55 years old and live in or plan to serve people in Southern California.

Application Information: The Picerne Family Foundation is not accepting Artist Outreach applications at this time. Please return to the Artist Outreach web page or contact the Foundation if you would like to be notified when applications are being accepted and when the application deadline has been set.

For more details about the Artist Outreach Project and the application process Click here. Contact the Picerne Family Foundation by telephone at (949) 267-1517, or by e-mail for questions and to discuss potential projects. Applications are available for download by clicking on the following links: AOP MS Word Application, AOP PDF Application. 

Artist Outreach Project Table of Contents

The Artist
The Stipend
The Community Project
Application Process
Summary of Criteria
Contact Information


The objective of Artist Outreach Project is to enable accomplished visual, performing and literary artists the opportunity to provide educational, mentoring and/or therapeutic experiences for under-served populations. The Foundation is well aware of the enormous therapeutic and educational contribution artists can make to those in-need within their communities. Artists often do not receive the support necessary to allow them to make this contribution. The Foundation also recognizes that significant therapeutic and educational impact rarely occurs in short “hit-and-run” programs. Therefore, the Foundation has developed a year-long program that provides support for experienced artists who are motivated to contribute to their community. The objectives of Artist Outreach are:

  • To provide accomplished visual, performing and literary artists the opportunity to share their passion and expertise with under-served members of the community.
  • To provide high quality educational, mentoring and therapeutic arts experiences to people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to work with an accomplished artist.


Stipends are available to literary, performing and visual artists who are:

  • 55 years old and older.
  • Living in or planning to serve people in Southern California.


Artists selected for the grant will receive $15,000 to lead a 12-month educational, mentoring or therapeutic arts project of their own choosing. The grant is intended to cover artists’ actual direct contact time with participants and will be paid out on a monthly basis. In addition to the grant amount, artists may submit a budget to fund materials directly related to service provision. Items such as the rental of office space, capital expenditures for permanent equipment, general office supplies, extra personnel, and travel expenses will not be reimbursed. The Foundation expects artists awarded the full grant will devote a minimum of six to eight hours per week to their proposed program. Five of these weekly hours must be direct contact time with participants. Artists wishing to contribute fewer hours may submit a proposal for a reduced grant amount.


Projects should be designed for an in-need population that does not typically have access to the proposed arts programming. There are no restrictions regarding the age of participants or the particular under-served group. However, projects should be educational, mentoring and/or therapeutic hands on experiences for the participants. Artists awarded the grant will be expected to complete a project evaluation at the end of the grant.

Projects should be carried out in association with organizations that possess not-for-profit, tax-exempt status. Artists may propose to work with one or more under-served groups or nonprofit organizations. The Foundation staff is available to provide assistance in locating individuals, groups or nonprofits that could benefit from an artist’s particular talents and proposed arts program. Grants will be limited to artists living in and/or serving people in Southern California.

Information about previous Artist Outreach Project Grant recipients and their projects can be found on the Picerne Family Foundation website at Examples of potentially fundable projects include:

  • Teaching ukulele to convalescing wounded war veterans
  • Facilitating a collage workshop for homeless children
  • Teaching drama to inner city African-American youth
  • Engaging at-risk youth in a creative writing project
  • Conducting one-on-one nature photography experiences for autistic children
  • Leading interpretive dance in a low-income retirement facility or apartments

The Foundation will not fund:

  • Performances, demonstrations or “showings” of the artist’s own work.
  • Projects occurring during the regular school day that are traditionally part of a school’s academic curriculum.
  • Projects that are primarily classroom lectures, with little hands on participant involvement in creating art.
  • Projects that are primarily religious in nature.
  • Projects where the primary applicant is a nonprofit or educational organization rather than an individual literary, visual, or performing artist.

Artists are encouraged to contact the Foundation to discuss their intended projects before completing their written applications. They can also receive suggestions about connecting with a suitable group at this time if needed.


Application Review and Award Process: The Picerne Family Foundation is not accepting Artist Outreach applications at this time. Please contact the Foundation at 949-267-1517 or by e-mail if you would like to be notified when applications are being accepted or to discuss your plans for an AOP application.

Pre-Submission: Artists should contact the Foundation staff by phone or e-mail to discuss their project ideas before completing the Artist Outreach application. Qualified artists with ideas that appear to fit the project criteria will be encouraged to seek out a nonprofit collaborator and submit a formal application. Application materials can be obtained by e-mail request, or by download from the Foundation website.

Formal Application: Artists may submit a written application to the Picerne Family Foundation by e-mail or regular mail. The Foundation will evaluate all proposals in terms of the reliability and professionalism of the artist and the artist’s likelihood for success. Foundation staff will also evaluate the educational and psycho-social impact of the proposed project.

It will be the applicants’ responsibility to describe the project they propose to engage in, the time they will devote, and a budget for supplies necessary for the project. In addition, applicants are expected to provide a letter or email of support from the nonprofit organization(s) they have chosen to host the project. The letter of support should be submitted with the application and demonstrate the nonprofit’s interest in supporting the artist’s proposal should the artist be awarded a grant. Finally, applicants will be asked to submit a resume of their art experience and references with the application.

Interview: Based on the written application, the Foundation will select finalists for the consequent interview phase. Artist proposals, plans, and budgets will be reviewed in more depth during the interview. Finalists may be asked to present samples of their work in advance of the interview. Finalists are often asked to follow up on one or more items after the interview, before the Foundation makes a final decision about awarding an Artist Outreach grant.


The following criteria are used to determine eligibility for the program:

  • Artist is age 55 or older during the time they will pursue their project.
  • Artist lives in or plans to serve residents in Southern California.
  • Applicant is a practicing artist in the literary, visual, or performing arts.
  • Projects will be carried out in association with organizations that possess not-for-profit, tax-exempt status.
  • An organization that does not possess non-profit status may be considered if a non-profit organization agrees to sponsor it.
  • Proposed projects are hands on educational, mentoring or therapeutic arts based programs.


1.What is the definition of an “artist” who is eligible to apply for the Artist Outreach Project? I am not sure if I will qualify as an “artist.”

The Foundation defines an “artist” as someone who has been engaged as a writer, performer, musician, or visual artist with some regularity and continuity over the years. The Foundation does not require that applicants have been paid for their artistic endeavors.

2. What artistic disciplines does the Artist Outreach Project support?

The artist outreach project supports artists pursuing projects in the literary, performing, or visual arts with people who might not otherwise have access the the proposed program. The Foundation maintains a liberal definition of supported art forms, and considers applications that represent a wide spectrum of hands on arts experiences. Proposals primarily focused on sports activities such as surfing or other therapeutic disciplines such as yoga or meditation will not be considered for an Artist Outreach Grant.

3.What groups qualify as “under-served” for the Artist Outreach Project?

Groups and individuals of any age are under-served when they lack opportunities to engage in therapeutic or educational arts programs. Quite often, these groups or individuals lack access because of economic, social, or other disadvantages. Click here to download more frequently asked questions: Artist Outreach FAQ


Contact Victor Nelson, the Foundation Executive Director, with questions about the Artist Outreach Project if you are an artist, if you represent a nonprofit organization interested in hosting an artist to provide arts programming for the people you serve; or if you are interested in starting an Artist Outreach Project in your own community. Mr. Nelson can be reached at (949) 267-1517 or via e-mail by clicking e-mail contact or the contact link below.

Project Results


Many of the artists who were awarded grants continue to have a positive impact on their communities as a result of their experiences. Sixty-three percent of artists have continued their projects beyond the grant period. Many have sought new opportunities and created "encore" careers as well. Click here for examples of the long-term impact of the project on the artists and the community.


Evaluations completed by our participating artists and non-profit organizations have revealed an overwhelmingly positive response to the AOP program. For example, one hundred percent of nonprofits collaborating with a senior artist reported the artist provided an important and unique therapeutic or educational opportunity for the people they serve. Click here for more artist and nonprofit survey results.

AOP Sustainability

Artist Outreach Project Sustainability

Ines Amaya – Bilingual Vocalist, Guitarist, and Music Therapist

Ines continues to lead the English/Spanish music therapy program she established for The Orange County Children's Therapeutic Art Center. Ines is paid by them and is helping this nonprofit secure funding for her program. She is collaborating with the Art Center’s staff to submit a grant to the Saint Joseph Health System Foundation.

Barbara Banks – Pianist and Music Teacher

Barbara continues to bring her music and crafts programs to underserved groups in North County San Diego. She volunteers her services and seeks out payment when possible.

Salvador Barajas – Bilingual Muralist and Graphic Artist

Sal pursued two paid projects that emerged because of exposure he received through the Artist Outreach Project. The first project was a new playground mural with elementary school students. The second project involved collaborating with seniors to design and complete an indoor mural at a Senior Wellness Center in San Diego.
Download a copy of this evaluation by clicking on the link below or contact Victor Nelson, Executive Director, with questions about the Artist Outreach Project by clicking on the “contact” link.

Adrienne Chavez McMillan – Storyteller and Performer

Adrienne continues her writing and storytelling project with youth living at the Joplin Detention Center. Her work with youth at Joplin inspired her to seek a position as a commissioner on the Juvenile Justice Commission in Orange County. Adrienne was sworn in as a new commissioner in January 2011.

Anita Carter – Expressive Art Therapist

Anita continues to lead the expressive arts program she established for Wounded Warriors on a volunteer basis. She is collaborating with a nonprofit organization to secure long-term funding for her expressive arts program. The nonprofit would like to expand its services to include expressive arts programs for disabled service men and women.

Chanara Casey Richmond – Singer, Composer, Recording Artist, and Producer

The activities director at one skilled nursing facility was impressed with Chanara's ability to engage residents, and secured funding for Chanara to continue her sing along program as a paid service provider.

Sue Diaz – Professional Writer, Author, and Freelance Journalist

Sue continues to facilitate writing workshops with veterans experiencing PTSD at the Naval Hospital in San Diego. She has also established a website called the Warriors Wall for veterans and their families to write, share their stories, and connect with each other. Sue subsequently published a book called Minefields of the Heart: A Mother's Stories of a Son at War.

Bay Duong – Bilingual Performing Artist, Hát Bội

Miss Bay established a Hát Bội Club that performs traditional Vietnamese dances. The Hát Bội Club supports itself though honoraria and donations for performances at community events. Miss Bay also started a radio talk show on National Vietnamese Radio in Southern California.

Cheryl Ehlers –Visual Artist – Painting, Sculpture, and Mixed Media

Cheryl successfully secured public, corporate, and foundation funding to continue and expand her Stardust visual art-exploration program with elementary and junior-high school students. The California State Assembly and San Diego County Board of Supervisors recognized Cheryl's program for making a valuable contribution to the communities in North County, San Diego.

Tim Harlan – Glass Artist and Teaching Artist

Their experience with Tim's Art Glass program led seniors at an affordable housing community to start an Art Club at the site. Tim remains involved as a volunteer, assisting another artist who leads a visual art class. He also helped the art club raise money for art materials through art sales.

Joel Harris – Mixed Media Artist and Illustrator

Joel expanded his art expression program to the Veterans Administration Medical Center in La Jolla and he continues his work with patients at Scripps Rehabilitation Center. Joel has also launched a nonprofit called Healing America's Heroes. He established a website that is dedicated to exhibiting rehabbing veteran's art and promoting the healing power of art. He has secured support for Healing America's Hero's from American Combat Veterans of War, The Front Porch Gallery, and individual donations.

Lonnie Hewitt – Award Winning Writer, Lyricist, and Playwright

Lonnie continues to produce "Women on the Far Side of Fifty" performances with many of the women whom she mentored through her Project. Most recently, her group performed to a sold-out audience at an 800-seat performing arts center in Poway, CA. Lonnie is seeking out opportunities to generate national attention for this show.

Doris Keats – Visual Artist, Author, Poet, and Educator

Doris continued the volunteer work she started through the Artist Outreach Project with patients at Scripps Hospital in Encinitas.

John David (JD) Keller – Actor, Director, and Producer

John contributes his time once a month as an advisor to the Reader's Theater group he established at the San Marcos Senior Center. One participant in John's group was inspired to write a screenplay and submit it for publication.

Jane LaFazio – Mixed Media Artist and Art Educator

Jane sustained her free after-school program, Mundo Lindo, for 4th and 5th-grade children in Escondido, California through support from foundations and individual donations. Mundo Lindo recently gained sponsorship from the Escondido Center for the Performing Arts.

Alex Long – Ceramic Artist and Potter

The Boys and Girls Club continues to fund the pottery program that Alex established. Alex contributes his time as an advisor to the club, helping volunteers and employees implement the program successfully. He has been instrumental in helping the club secure additional equipment. Alex also volunteers his time mentoring former students who participated in his Ceramic Arts Program.

Kathleen McVey – Artist and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

Kathleen's nonprofit host asked her to expand her program to a site that serves low-income adults suffering from AIDS-related illnesses. This nonprofit is seeking funding to support her work and continue the fine art class she established with low-income seniors at an affordable housing site.

Manuel Ortega – Bilingual Guitarist

Manuel is receiving payment from the Santa Ana Police and Activity League to continue teaching guitar at its after school program. The director is also seeking funding to build a music room for the club.

Dyana Preti – Professional Music Educator and Owner of First Steps in Music

Dyana successfully collaborated with the Boys and Girls Club in Vista to secure grant funding for her music program from a local family foundation. She continues to provide piano and singing lessons to children who attend the club.

Frances Rios – Bilingual Pianist and Story Teller

Frances teaches individual piano lessons to children who showed promise at the shelter where she contributed her time. She secured a piano for one of the children whose parents could not afford to purchase one. Frances also volunteers her time for group lessons at the Children's Museum that hosted her project.

Frank Ritenour – Professional Photographer and Owner of Ritenour's Photography

Frank's experience teaching photography to youth inspired him to pursue a new business idea for his professional photography studio. Frank added photography workshop experiences for children's gatherings to the ¬services he provides.

Richard Rivera – Sword Combat Choreographer and Nationally Recognized Writer/Producer

Richard continued his stage sword-combat program with the support of the library that hosted his Artist Outreach Project.

Grace Songolo – Ceramic Artist and Sculptor

Grace is continuing her visual art and photography program known as Project Focus for youth living at a domestic violence shelter after collaborating on a successful fundraising effort for the program. She also expanded her program to a second shelter.

Nancy Torbitt-Stewart – Visual Artist

Nancy continues her weekly visits to create art with young people as a volunteer at the Orange County Children's hospital. She is also working on a book that will share the art and experiences of children affected by cancer. It is intended to be a source of hope and information for anyone in a family with a child suffering from cancer.

Ron Woskow – Professional Musician and Music Educator

Ron was inspired to begin voice lessons and start a singing career. Ron continues the work he started at the San Marcos Senior Center as a ukulele instructor and he expanded this program to other senior centers. He also started an advanced ukulele group that performs at community events throughout San Diego County.

AOP Evaluation Results

Artist Outreach Project Evaluation Results

Nonprofit Evaluations of the Senior Artists and the Artist Outreach Project

  • 100% of nonprofits reported the senior artist provided an important and unique therapeutic, educational, or meaningful opportunity for the people served by the organization.
  • 96% of nonprofits reported their organization was previously unable to provide an experience to their clients like the one provided by the senior artist.
  • 96% of nonprofits would recommend the Artist Outreach Program to other nonprofit organizations. 4% were undecided.

Artist Evaluations of the Artist Outreach Project

  • 100% of the artists reported their projects provided an important and unique therapeutic, educational, or meaningful opportunity for the people they served.
  • 100% reported that the Artist Outreach Project created an opportunity for the artist to pass along years of knowledge and experience in a way they would not have previously been able to pursue on their own.
  • 75% of the senior artists reported that they plan to pursue work similar to their Artist Outreach Project after the end of the grant. 25% said they would use the experience in another way after the grant ends – for example to write a book.

Senior Artist Evaluations of the Nonprofit Organization Hosting the Artist Program

  • 85% of the senior artists recommended the nonprofit for future senior artist placements. 89% were satisfied with their experience at the nonprofit. 8% were undecided and one artist was not satisfied with the nonprofit placement.
  • 85% of the senior artists felt the nonprofit staff helped, supported and added value to their work with participants. 12% were undecided and one artist did not feel the staff added value to the project.

Download a copy of this evaluation by clicking on the link below or contact Victor Nelson, Executive Director, with questions about the Artist Outreach Project by clicking on the “contact” link.

AOP Evaluation Results

Starting a Project in Your City

The Picerne Family Foundation has developed a Partnership Model to help organizations that would like to start an Artist Outreach Project in their communities.

1. Program Purpose

The Artist Outreach Project is designed to provide artists age 55 and older the opportunity to give back to their community in a meaningful way. Individual programs offer service to in-need and underserved clients in local, nonprofit organizations. The significant benefits of the Project for the artists, the nonprofit organizations and their clients, and the community at large have been well documented. The Foundation is committed to supporting other communities that would like to create a local Artist Outreach Project.

2. Proprietary Issues

The Foundation feels that local communities are better able to administer and sustain projects based on their specific needs, culture and interests. For instance, the local community may wish to create an intergenerational program in which the artists serve clients of all ages. Another local agency may, on the other hand, wish to create a program of senior artists serving the elderly in community residences. The Foundation has no proprietary interest in licensing, naming, or administering local projects. Materials are copywrited and would be freely shared with appropriate recognition.

3. The Partnership Model

a. The Expertise: The Picerne Family Foundation will provide pro bono assistance to the other partners to insure a successful project. We will provide all the technical materials necessary to initiate, administer, and evaluate an AOP. We will also provide pro bono on-site consultation and ongoing assistance for a one-year period. We do not provide financial grants for local community agencies to fund Artist Outreach Projects.

b. The Host: The second partner would be a local nonprofit organization serving the elderly or one engaged in the arts or healthcare. This organization would be the host for the project. The host would administer the program and as such be responsible for providing day-to-day leadership, office space, and other support as needed. A program with ten artists could be administered and supervised by a part-time professional.

c. The Funder: The third partner would provide the financial support for the project locally. This partner could be an individual, a foundation, a corporate sponsor, or a governmental agency. The initial investment would depend upon the number of artists funded. For instance, program and grant costs for 10 artists would be approximately $150,000.

4. Next Step
If you would like to discuss this opportunity further, please contact Dr. Ken Golden, Senior Advisor to the Picerne Family Foundation, at or (760) 944-3436.

Shelter-in-Place: Face-to-Face

The shelter-in-place mandate necessitated by the COVID-19 crisis has created a new set of opportunities and problems for individuals and communities.  For some, it is an opportunity to free oneself from the hectic fast-paced treadmill we often complain about.  We now have a chance to connect more with ourselves and with our family.  But many are beginning to feel the effects of cabin fever - going stir crazy from being cooped up.  Feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety are reactions to this immediate cessation in our daily routines of work and school.  Individuals of all ages are feeling the impact of this enforced isolation.  There is a great need right now to provide opportunities to connect with others.

In response to this crisis, the Picerne Family Foundation has created an opportunity for welcome relief through its Shelter-in-Place: Face-to-Face program.  The Picerne Family Foundation has arranged live one-on-one music, art, and writing lessons free to anyone in the community.  These 15 – 30 minute “in-person” lessons are conducted through interactive video programs such as ZoomSkype or FaceTime.  The instructors are all professional artists who are donating their time for this project.  There is no fee for these lessons.   And if the user needs help getting set up on one of the interactive platforms, the Foundation provides personal assistance.

The Foundation currently connects individuals to artists with the following specialties:

  1. General art, collage, stitching, art with stories. All ages. Bilingual (English/Spanish)
  2. General art, origami, clay, recycled art. All ages.
  3. Music, keyboard/piano, Ages 6-10.
  4. Drawing, painting. All Ages.
  5. Guitar, all styles. Ages 8 – 16. Bilingual (English/Spanish).
  6. Poetry, short stories, folk tales. All Ages.
  7. Singing, guitar. 60 years old and up. Spanish only.
  8. Photography - Introduction and Smart Phone.
  9. Improvisation and Sketch Writing.

Individuals may submit their request to schedule a session by clicking on the Contact page on the Picerne Family Foundation website:   Indicate in your note to the Foundation which artist(s) or type of art you are interested in from the above list.  We will respond directly to you and attempt to fulfill as many requests as possible on a first-come first-serve basis.  We will be expanding this list as the need demands.

If you are an artist, writer or musician and would like to volunteer your time to tutor others, please contact the Foundation on the Contact page as well.

The teachers are very enthusiastic.  We look forward to hearing from you.