Artists Video

‘This Is Who I Am in the World’: Preview Art21’s Report on the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland

Artist Cedric Johnson, production still from the “San Francisco Bay Area” episode of Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 9.

©2018 ART21, INC.

Each Wednesday for the next two months, ARTnews will preview a one-minute clip from the ninth season of Art21’s show Art in the Twenty-First Century, which travels from the Bay Area to Johannesburg to Berlin.

Production still from the “San Francisco Bay Area” episode of Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 9, inside the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland.

©2018 ART 21, INC.

A peek inside the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California, reveals a space that is a cross between a crafts shop and an art classroom—garden lights hang above tables where artists are using supplies stored in plastic containers. It is clear that these creators are neither monolithic in their media (ceramics, paint, drawing, wood sculpting, fabric) nor in their appearance.

The men and women, young and old, and of different backgrounds, who converge at Creative Growth have two things in common, however: they have developmental, mental, and/or physical disabilities, and they are passionate about their work.

In an upcoming segment of the ninth season of Art in the Twenty-First Century, Art21 will talk to some of the artists and administrators involved with Creative Growth, which was founded by Elias and Florence Katz in 1974 and provides resources to more than 150 artists with disabilities.

“Art is a great equalizer that transcends language, that transcends culture, that transcends disability,” Creative Growth’s director, Tom di Maria, says in the clip. “Creative Growth Art Center is about artistic expression, as a form of aesthetic development, as a form of saying, ‘This is who I am in the world.’ ”

 

Season 9 of “Art in the Twenty-First Century” premieres September 21 at 9 p.m. on PBS. “San Francisco Bay Area” airs September 28 at 9 p.m.

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