In 2014 Embark Arts founder and executive Director, Tania Houtzager, was completing a Post-Baccalaureate program at the San Francisco Art Institute and beginning her Master in Fine Arts applications for graduate schools in the Bay Area. Drawing on her experience at SFAI she researched comparisons with other Bay Area school and saw a gap between each school's community and the Bay Area's art community at large. From this research the idea of Embark Arts core program was developed- an annual series of juried shows aimed at graduate students to provide them with much needed exhibition experiences, community engagement with peers from other institutions and the larger Bay Area arts community, and a platform for scholarly discussion. Houtzager saw the program as a way to engage San Francisco's general community with the activities of the near 400 graduate student candidates pursuing their Masters in Fine Arts, to show them the strength of their regions emerging artists and to produce shows on topics that speak to the concerns and interests of that community.
With these ideas in mind Houtzager leased a large space at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture through the 501(c)3 nonprofit Kabouter Foundation, which was later renamed Embark Arts Inc. The space opened as Embark Gallery with its eponymous first show in February of 2015. The show received a large amount of attention including a article for the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle's Datebook. From there Embark continued to produce and present juried exhibitions and the artists the showed with Embark went on to do great things.
Today Embark Arts Inc's space and programming has expanded as the scope of its mission has developed and its relationships with other Bay Area institutions has grown. In March of 2017 the gallery space increased in size by 200 square feet and a conference room was added to the footprint.