The ARTS Center is  a 20,000 square foot hub of creativity and safety dedicated to multidisciplinary arts for students to engage in after school and on weekends.

School and home is where I have to keep secrets. ARTS is where I can let them all out.
Stephanie, ARTS Alumni


200 East 12th Street
National City, CA 91950

p: (619) 297-ARTS (2787)



Administration Entrance (west side):
Monday-Friday: 9am to 5pm

Program Entrance (north side):
Monday-Friday: 3pm to 7pm
Saturday hours vary, please call for more information.

About National City

ARTS is based in National City, CA — just 5 minutes south of downtown San Diego and 10 minutes north of the Mexico border. National City is a hard working, culturally diverse, and proud community.

Residents are 63% Hispanic, 20% Asian/Pacific Islander, 10% White, 5% Black, and 2% other.

National City is San Diego County’s poorest community with the highest rates of youth disconnection (13.3%), significant health disparities (obesity, diabetes, etc.) and significant poverty persistence (20%).

Unfortunately, young people in National City are facing challenges that can all too often stamp out their creative passion before it’s even had a chance to ignite. Family instability, a high school graduation rate gap for people of color, and mental health concerns are just a few of the obstacles facing National City youth on their roads to success.

Research shows that students with meaningful engagement in arts-based learning are more likely to succeed in both academic and professional settings, especially for youth living in low socioeconomic communities.

With access to art in the public education system declining, ARTS is committed to serving the young people of this community by providing high-quality, free arts education classes; internship opportunities with creative professionals; and a host of support services tailored to their individual needs and goals.

The Role of ARTS in National City

ARTS is  a key partner working with government and civic leaders in National City toward their goal of establishing a safe, healthy, and vibrant city where residents feel pride in and ownership of their surroundings.

The ARTS Center serves as an anchor institution and hub of community creativity in National City’s emerging arts and culture district.

The ARTS Center is located at the edge of Kimball Park and is home to 20,000 square feet of dedicated creative space where young people can develop the skills they need to thrive.

The ARTS Center building was previously National City’s Public Library. Now, it’s home to a spacious art studio, dedicated ceramics space, music room with recording equipment, industry-standard Maker workshop, media lab with 10 iMac computers, and a student art gallery. ARTS also has administrative offices and a Student Services resource center on-site.

Behind the main building, ARTS also has a multi-use outdoor classroom and event space, which was built as a Creating Vibrant Neighborhoods Initiative Gathering Place project site. This Park N’ Lot space was recognized with a San Diego American Society of Landscape Architects Jurors’ Award in 2016.