Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Art is Not a Hobby

This was printed on a bumper sticker on a locker at the CREATIVE GROWTH ART CENTER, located in Uptown Oakland, just a few blocks from my office. I've known about the Center for years but had never ventured in until just this week, when my friend Peter took me inside. There is a commercial gallery/store, which is open during the week after 11:00 am, showing their artist-clients' work and also putting up curated shows with art from artists with special needs as well as allied artists from the greater world of art.

I must thank Brendan, of the Center, for showing me around and answering all my questions. Today I got a hall pass and got to walk around and visit as the artists were finishing lunch.

Creative Growth is a non-profit, serving artists with physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities. It has been in operation for 30 years and is arguably the first and best of its kind, anywhere.

The work on view (and under production) defies easy description, because the artists themselves are so varied. I will leave that exploration up to you. I did feel an immediate affinity for the work of William Tyler. His beautifully crafted drawings often combine texts with images of the artist and his twin brother as they navigate through a life that requires both ordering strictures and accidents of whimsy in order to progress. I am a lover of drawings and these are dazzling.

The gallery store also sells cards, t-shirts, multiples, and other wonderful things. For more on upcoming programs as well as special events for the holidays, go to: http://www.creativegrowth.org/.

Creative Growth Art Center
355 24th Street (at Valdez)
Oakland, CA 94612

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