Spring 2021 Newsletter

Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.

~Anni Albers

Dear Friends,

Spring has sprung, and what would normally shine with a sense of hope and rejuvenation, it is still shaded by clouds of uncertainty. There have been monumental positive steps in responding to the pandemic, however there is still a depleted reservoir which needs to be replenished, nurtured and healed. The methods to recharge one’s soul will vary, but there is one remedy which has been proven to heal universally, without prescription, without cost, without privilege: ART! Our mission- to ensure that all youth have access to an arts education by supporting the transmission of the visual arts-is our contribution to the process of healing through art. Our family foundation believes that art is its own kind of medicine. By joining with and supporting the work of so many “arts healers” – arts educators, art volunteers, student artists, apprentices and youth of all ages – we work in support of our goal: to enable the healing qualities of viewing, creating, learning about and being exposed to art now to those who need it most.

Look at life with the eyes of a child

~ Henri Matisse

My mother and father shared a very similar trait. They wanted their artwork to evoke    joy. Their work, especially my father’s, was intended to make you chuckle, to find its lightheartedness within its masterful quality. My mom’s work, especially her portraits, emphasized a smile or kindness in the eyes of her models. Their work was not driven by an intent to make a statement. Rather, it was meant to recharge your creative battery and fill your joy tank with humor and amusement. In honoring them, our intention for the Foundation is to support visual arts education in all of its forms so that art can have the widest reach, to expose and offer arts-based healing to those who are still suffering from, and coming out of, this past year of trauma and challenges.   As we re-emerge together,let’s also come together around the healing qualities of art.

With love and gratitude,


Arts Education Initiative Impact

Our Arts Education Initiative (AEI) is modeled after other national initiatives of its kind that foreground arts education as critical to the development of arts leadership.We focus on arts education as a primary need of individuals and communities, especially in under-funded neighborhoods and communities where our youth often lack access to ongoing immersion in, or even exposure to, the arts. The AEI supports arts educators, teaching artists, youth arts organizations and programs through art instruction and civic engagement as part of our commitment to diversify, inclusion, equity and access in arts education.

In just two years, the AEI has supported more than 13 youth arts programs-servicing hundreds of youths through classroom and community out~reach -secured 525 art kits for after~school arts~based curriculum, funded teaching artists and non~profit arts leadership development, youth advisories and arts education programs. We also contributed directly to wider COVID~relief efforts in the arts.

Our recent grantees include:

  • Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA)
  • California State University, East Bay
    Teaching Artist Internship (multi~year grant)
  • Southern Exposure, Artists in Education (AIE)
  • Youth Arts Exchange (YAX)*** see photo
  • LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions)
    Apprenticeship Program (multi~year grant)
  • Creative Growth Art Center (Oakland)
  • Arts for Oakland Kids
  • Gratitude NOW!
  • Cal State Sacramento Student Emergence Fund
  • Crocker Museum Annual Auction
  • Community Arts Foundation
  • Ojai Valley Green Coalition (Youth arts curriculum)
  • The Crayon Initiative
Youth Arts Exchange’s Virtual Youth Arts Summit, 2020. Used with permission


In this issue, we turn our * Spotlight * on Cynthia Syriani, who successfully completed a semester at Cal State East Bay as a Teaching Artist in one of Hayward’s Promise Neighborhood schools. The purpose of the federal Promise program is to improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children and youth in our nation’s most distressed school districts, and to transform student learning opportunities and outcomes.  We can think of no better match for our Arts Education Initiative, and no one better qualified to perform the heroic work of implementing arts-based learning platforms than Cynthia, our inaugural Ramos Family Foundation grantee! 

Check out these examples of students’ words and drawings, brought into colorful expressions of emotion, through Cynthia’s talent and ability to make young people feel safe and good through art making.

The Teaching Artist internship is an annual award offered through CSEB to qualifying Art Majors. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Advancement Team and the Art Department, especially its sponsoring faculty member, Michael Hall, whose patience and enthusiasm helped to connect all the dots to make it happen!   Thank you, Professor Hall!

-Upon entering this scholarship opportunity, I knew I had an interest in becoming a teacher, but now that I have had an opportunity to facilitate a lesson from scratch, I know [arts] education is my calling.

Announcing the launch of our new WEBSITE

Ramos Family Foundation is LIVE   https://ramosfamilyfoundation.org 

My parents and I created the Foundation as a means to carry on their works as artists and arts educators. With the launch of our website, we hope to tell our story and invite a broader audience of supporters to join in our mission to ensure all youth have access to an arts education. We will use this digital platform to introduce the projects we support and expose opportunities for the growth of those projects, as well as creating a global community of art lovers and art education supporters. Our site introduces you to our mission and impact, our quarterly newsletter and Mel & Leta’s artwork.

You can receive our newsletter digitally by subscribing and entering your email information in the newsletter page. Donations can be made by check (payable to Ramos Family Foundation, mailed to 5941 Ocean View Dr. Oakland, CA 94618) or by making an online donation directly to our non-profit 501(c) by visiting:

The programs that we grant rely heavily upon donor support for their continuity and sustainability. By joining our new Circle of Friends, you will be joining a passionate group of art supporters & arts education enthusiasts, starting with a gift of just $25.

Silver Level Friend: A contribution of $25 or more furthers our programs of continued grant- making to ensure access for ALL youth to an arts education.

Gold Level Friend: A contribution of $500 or more will receive a catalogue or handbag from the Mel Ramos Collection.

Forever Friends: A sustaining gift of $1000 will also include an invitation to contribute to our strategic visioning workshops and attend our inaugural Forever Friends reception to be planned when the setting is ideal! Together, we can build impactful connections to our arts community by joining other like-minded supporters, educators and artists.

Rochelle, Skot & Bradley Ramos, Oakland, CA 1969
Mel & Leta Ramos, Oakland, CA 1976