San Diego Art Institute is the premier regional contemporary arts center in San Diego and has been advocating and providing a platform for artists, exhibiting world-class regional contemporary art, and fostering cultural equity for over 75 years. Currently, our programs reach over 100,000 individual artists, youth and visitors each year. SDAI serves as a home for our region’s exemplary artistic talent 365 days a year.

Our core priorities are to:

  • Elevate exemplary artistic talent in our region through providing financial and logistical support, a top exhibition space, and connections with curators and collectors;

  • Connect community members with meaningful art experiences and build the audiences and artists of the future;

  • Expand our artist residencies, youth programs, and community outreach; and

  • Catalyze emerging talent and innovation at the intersection of art, science and technology.

As the only contemporary arts institution housed in Balboa Park, SDAI is a catalyst for advancing high-caliber regional contemporary art and artists and allows for the artistic visions and voices of our region to be seen, heard, and celebrated.

Volunteers at SDAI play a vital role in supporting our mission and are foundational to the success of artists in our region!

Volunteer Categories


Youth/Education Programming

Special Events

Exhibition Installation

Writing and Translation


Special skills for tailored projects





Graphic Design

Copy Editing



Events Volunteers help organize and run exhibition receptions, the annual C-NOTE Art Sales, VIP member programs, and other special events. Events are taking place on a quarterly basis.

Activities include things like:

  • Event planning

  • Organizing food and beverages

  • Finding food and beverage sponsors

  • Assisting with setup and running the event

  • Greeting and checking in guests

  • Taking photographs

Gallery Guides provide a link between staff, visitors and the art by greeting guests, answering questions, and helping make sure people do not touch the art. Shifts are generally 2-3 hours Tuesday through Sunday.

Office Volunteers provide administrative support to SDAI staff. Shifts are generally 4-hours per day Monday through Friday.

Tasks include things like

  • Filing, scanning, organizing

  • Assisting with creating mailings

  • Aid in cataloguing inventory, SDAI photos in database

  • Distributing flyers around town

  • Guiding visitors and gallery reception

  • Assisting with gallery/wall prep/lighting design for exhibition installation

  • Assisting children complete art projects

Bilingual Translation Volunteers assist with Spanish translations for didactics and promotional text as needed, especially during preparation for exhibitions. Must be bilingual in Spanish and English. Ideal for someone with a background in academic-level translations.

Tasks include things like

  • Writing Spanish translations of English text

  • Proofing/Editing didactic for accuracy and grammar

To apply, please fill out a Volunteer Form.  We will send periodic e-mails for opportunities to volunteer during specific events.