Jordan King, an artist at Creative Growth- Cayce Clifford for the New York Times
The Art World Opens Up to an Underrepresented Group
Art in Embassies and Creative Growth – It was 2:15 on a late-summer Friday afternoon, time for Creative Growth’s weekly dance party. The artists gathered in the lunch area and began gyrating to tunes from a boom box. Soon, a conga line formed. Chugging along, they snaked their way through their work spaces, then out the front door and back, synchronicity more evident in happy faces than footwork. It was a joyous way to celebrate another week of artistry.
Creative Growth is a sprawling art center and gallery near downtown Oakland in a building long ago converted from an auto repair shop. Far more than the dancing on Fridays, what happens here every day is a celebration — of art, of life, of the human spirit. It’s foremost a tribute to the mystery and marvel of the brain’s capacity to overcome deficits and, through artistic endeavor, open a window onto an inner self.
The artists here have intellectual and developmental disabilities, some with autism, some with Down syndrome, some nonverbal, some blind, some deaf and many who communicate better through the work they produce. Untrained in the conventional sense of art schools and mentors, they respond, instead, to an inexplicable force that guides their eyes, hands and instincts….