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IAFS is an emerging free school community, self-organizing along the principles of democracy, mutual aid, and mutual benefit to foster art and learning through the aftermath of SFAI’s rupture, the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic, crises in higher education and climate change, and in solidarity with worldwide movements for racial and economic justice.

Statement of Pedagogy: At IAFS, we undertake teaching and learning as a free exchange of mutual aid and benefit in order to develop the expressive skills, critical engagement, and artistic practices of our community members and our community itself.

Registration for our Fall 2021 course offerings: “Embracing the Mess” begins August 23, 2021. Learn more →

The abbreviation IAFS doesn’t yet have a meaning. It started simply as the reversal of SFAI from which we emerged. What IAFS stands for will be determined in the making of our free school.

…Independent Art Friend Ship…Infinite Art Free School…Independent Art Friends Society…Impossible Art Free School…Independent Art Fueled Society…Free School of the Arts Imagined… Integral, Indispensable, International, Inescapable, Ice-cold, Indomitable, Intelligent, Interstellar, Interplanetary, Iridescent, Irresistible, Indeterminate…


We are guided by the following principles:

Community Principles – Who we are

1. We are a community that wants to make art together.
2. We aim to develop a community of care, kindness, healing, and trust that strengthens our creativity and capacity for collective action and resistance.
3. We are inspired by the Bay Area’s radical spirit and invested in participating in our communities wherever we find them.
4. We acknowledge the fullness of our feelings by rubbing our hearts.

Creative Principles – How we make

5. We invite the exploration of all media and genres without gate keeping.
6. We appreciate the development of technique to form deeper connections between craft and concept.
7. We engage in mature practices of open mindedness, patience, and productive critique to co-create powerful languages of engagement and empowerment.
8. We grow our understanding of history and critical theory through reading, dialog, and listening to push our art practices to make meaningful differences in the present.

Structural Principles – How we organize

9. We undertake the organization of our school as a form of art.
10. We make decisions democratically and administer and implement them cooperatively.
11. We commit to honest communication and transparent information.
12. We deepen–not just grow–our community, at an intentional pace that supports enjoyment, inclusion, and participation.
13. We believe in decolonization and resist historic systems of oppression and how they may inform current conditions and our relationships with one another.
14. We seek to connect our school with other free schools and similarly principled organizations in other fields to sustain larger networks for sharing.

Our commitment to these principles allows us to become a safe, supportive, leader-full, and non-hierarchical organization that sustains a free and accessible art school and community of mutual aid.