Monday, July 4, 2011

Create(d) Equal

There is currently an exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive which is near and dear to my heart. The exhibition entitled “Create” features artworks from three pioneering art programs in the San Francisco Bay area: Creativity Explored in San Francisco, Creative Growth in Oakland and NIAD in Richmond.

All three programs were founded by the amazing couple Florence Ludins-Katz and Elias Katz, who shared an unorthodox vision of what an art program could be. Each center facilitates the making, displaying and selling of art by people with developmental disabilities.

The exhibition, which is curated by BAM’s Larry Ridner, along with Matthew Higgs takes art from this oeuvre and elevates it from “outsider” art to significant museum work.

My connection, of course is with Creativity Explored. I wrote a post about CE as part of our “Local Treasure” series when I had started volunteering in earnest back in 2009. Since then, I have joined CE’s Board of Directors, and now have the privilege of actively advocating for these amazing artists and this crucial program.

The nine studio artists from Creativity Explored whose work is featured in “Create” are Mary Belknap, Daniel Green, Michael Bernard Loggins, John Patrick McKenzie, James Miles, James Montgomery, Berta Otoya, Evelyn Reyes and Lance Rivers. Information on all of CE’s artists can be found here. The work of these artists, as well as the others participating in the show may just change the way you look at art!

The exhibition runs through September 25, 2011 at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive at 2626 Bancroft Way Berkeley, CA 94720. More information on the show can be found here. A national tour of the show is currently being organized.

David J. Hansen

Images from top:

1) “Watches On Orange” by James Montgomery © 2007 Creativity Explored

2) Image of Berkeley Art Museum via

3) “Port of Oakland Landscape” by Lance Rivers © 2010 Creativity Explored

4) “Garbage Cans” by Evelyn Reyes © Creativity Explored

5) “Bitter, Butter, Batter” by John Patrick McKenzie © 2011 Creativity Explored

6) “Untitled” by Mary Belknap © 2010 Creativity Eplored

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