The Rex Ray Memorial Fund fosters creativity in high school age students through access to the visual arts in San Francisco. The Fund seeks to support the imaginations and creativity of LGBTQ+ youth as well as those for whom art is an essential and vital tool to meet the challenges of urban youth culture today.

Celebrated artist and graphic designer Rex Ray died on February 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California after a prolonged struggle with cancer. A major cultural force in the art, literary, and activist communities in the Bay Area, he was recognized for his collage pop aesthetic. Rex Ray began making art in the early 1970s in high school in Colorado Springs, Colorado during an era in public school education when art and music classes were foundational and extra-curricular. Art offered an opportunity for intellectual exploration, creative expression and, in Ray’s case, escapism. In 1981 he moved to San Francisco, completed his BFA at San Francisco Art Institute, where he entered graduate studies. An internationally recognized fine artist and graphic designer, Rex Ray left an abundant artistic legacy including over 100 posters for Bill Graham Presents, numerous covers for City Light Publishers, graphics for indie bands and commissions for major recording artists such as David Bowie, and a remarkable body of beautiful paintings and works on paper.

The Rex Ray archives — letters, graphic designs, books, personal collections, works on paper, journals, photographs — have been donated to these institutions: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library in Cleveland, OH; Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley; and the Kirkland Museum in Denver, CO.

Art programs in the urban public schools continue to be restricted by mandatory budgetary cuts. The Rex Ray Memorial Fund aims to insure that high school students have access to visual arts. The Fund provides critical funding to nurture the advancement and sustainability of visual arts culture in San Francisco. By providing financial support to teachers, and their programs, students directly engage with the creativity and critical thinking that advances civil society. It was Rex Ray’s wish that the Fund would generate positive effects for young people for the benefit of all.

The fiscal sponsor for the Rex Ray Memorial Fund is the highly regarded foundation, Friends of Harvey Milk based in San Francisco. Awards are given directly to teachers or students based on artistic excellence, creativity, innovation, and motivation. Grants are reviewed and awarded throughout the year by the Advisory Board: Tim Gleason, President of Rex Ray Inc.; Amy Scholder, Editor; and Kellie Seringer, Chair Friends of Harvey Milk and Partner Symmetry Capital Management; and Griff Williams, Founder and Director of Gallery 16, San Francisco.

To donate or apply: