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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Gage Academy of Art

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult Education, Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Education, Visual Arts, Youth Development

Mission: Guided by the belief that artists are made, not born, Gage strives to educate, enrich and engage artists and the community in the visual arts. Gage offers instruction in the principles of drawing, painting and sculpting and is dedicated to helping students of all ages and skill levels realize themselves as artists in contemporary society Gage Youth Programs offer practical art instruction in drawing, painting and 3-D design for 6 to 18 year old artists. Our curriculum encourages students to explore new materials and techniques, develop creative problem solving skills and celebrate self-expression. We are dedicated to providing professional teaching artists to present engaging, age-appropriate classes that empower young artists to "be seen and heard."

Results: In spite of the difficult economy, Gage has shown strong enrollment patterns this year with an increase of 12% in its adult classes.

Target demographics: Annually, Gage serves over 10,000 members of our community through educational and community programs in the visual arts. Our Youth Prorgrams engage young artists ages 6 to 18 and our open enrollment Adult Programs draw artists of all skill levels from beginners to professionals. Gage year-long ateliers provide professional training in drawing and painting to a core group of 40 artists who work in on-site studios under the mentorship of master teaching artists.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Each year, Gage awards $160,000 in tuition relief to over 300 deserving students.

Geographic areas served: Gage serves artists across the NW region

Programs: ADULT PROGRAMS - classes, workshops, ateliers, evening lecture series, national & international art tours. YOUTH PROGRAMS - after-school & Saturday classes, family programs & art tours, summer workshops, pre-college Teen Intensive, plus free, drop-in Teen Art Studios, running 50 Friday nights a year. COMMUNITY PROGRAMS - exhibitions, evening lectures, art competitions, public art events.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Board Member

Rating: 5

I was Chair of the Board of Gage for 6 years and helped shepherd the organization through its move from the University Heights building to its present location at St. Mark's and its name change from Seattle Academy of Art to Gage Academy. Both of these monumental undertakings were solved with efficiency and grace. I have never worked with more committed founders whom I respect individually for their dedication to the art and community. From the Board to the Staff to the Students to the Donors, Gage Academy fosters an atmosphere of shared creative learning. I would urge anyone reading these reviews to become involved: take a class, visit an on site gallery, donate or join the board. Your life will be enriched.


Board Member

Rating: 5

Gage Academy of Art is an exceptional arts institution for any city - that it exists in Seattle is our great fortune. The school deserves to be recognized for its role in creating a world-class art school that serves any person with the desire to learn art. My experience with Gage began in 2002 with my first painting class. I never looked back, and continued to take one or two classes plus workshops every quarter. Because the school has been such an important part of my life and my personal growth as an artist, I welcomed the chance to give back, and became a trustee. Here are a few reasons why: students are welcomed from every walk of life, every age group, and every socio-economic demographic. Students have the independence to choose the path that serves them best - from individual classes and workshops, to Gage's foundation program, to the ateliers. Regardless of the chosen path, students are treated with the same respect and encouragement by the outstanding local, regional, and national instructors. The education goes beyond the classroom, and includes drop-in studios; free exhibitions of student, instructor and guest artist works; lectures by notable speakers (including several free lectures each quarter); teen art studios every Friday night provided at no cost to the drop-in students; and the much anticipated and well attended annual Drawing Jams. Gage opens it's doors to students and to the general community. It is a unique institution which is gaining well-deserved national exposure.


Board Member

Rating: 5

I am writing to recommend Gage Academy of Art for [community recognition] based on its commitment to exhibiting local, regional, national and international artists in free, rotating shows that engage its students, as well as our whole community. With the Steele Gallery focused on professional artists and the Rosen Gallery hosting student and emerging artist shows, Gage opens its doors to opportunities for a wide range of serious artists to be seen publicly with art that spans from classical realism to abstract expressionism, from encaustic/mixed media to bronze. In fact, I was recently invited to curate an exhibition of professional abstract artists working in series at “Building C,” an artist’s loft building in Ballard. It is meaningful that Gage has added training “guest curators” to the mission of its exhibition program, allowing fresh eyes and ideas to formulate shows in the Steele Gallery. Typically, two Gage shows per year are curated by guest artists allowing young curators a venue to practice their critical and presentation skills. Over the past five years, since its move to the St. Nicholas Building on Capitol Hill, Gage has hosted an astounding range of artistic works by professional artists such as realist drawings by NY artist Steven Assael; sumi ink paintings by Hong Kong artist, John Li; master prints from a collection of British artists; “forgotten masters” of NW paintings from the 1930s; cartoon drawings by Jim Woodring, bronze sculptures by NW artist Ann Morris, drawings and paintings by the UW Art faculty, a group show of political art by Seattle gallery artists and much, much more. It is also meaningful to note that the opening receptions for these shows include a free public lecture and the evening draws hundreds of interested art lovers. The community outreach of the Gage exhibition program provides a substantial service to our local artists, especially these days when the visual arts are receiving less funding and less exposure. Margaret Watson