When I was in San Francisco my uncle took me to an incredible place called Creativity Explored. This place was the largest and most diverse studio for artists with developmental disabilities that I had ever imagined. I was awestruck when I walked from the gallery into the studio and saw hundreds of talented artists working away. I met many artists and they seemed happy, safe, and in their element. I wanted to stay and meet/talk to everyone there, but that would have taken weeks.
For the last several years I have been exploring Art Therapy, but after an internship and learning more about the field I sadly realized it wasn’t for me.
I think that art takes you where you need to go on it’s own. The emotions that need to be released, will be during the process of making art if you are in a free and safe environment.
Creativity Explored is an art studio, not an art therapy studio.
I have always wanted to create a truly safe and happy place for all people to find their creative passion, and where I could teach when people need teaching and create along side other creators. I haven’t fully formed my notion of this perfect studio space, but I know I want to share it with any and all others.
While I was at Creativity Explored I got to chat up the Executive Director, Amy Taub. Amy is a salty older woman near retirement with extensive knowledge of the inner workings of a studio devoted to artists with developmental disabilities. She said that if she had it all to do over again, she would never have made the studio so big. I thought that was a shame because it is mesmerizing seeing such a large group of people busily enjoying their work, but obviously I do understand. Amy’s complaint was that the people there aren’t getting as much individual attention as some may need or want, and it is too challenging to organize a place like that.
Amy also said that only a fool opens a studio for artists with developmental challenges without government assistance. I wanted to ask so many more questions after she said this, but I also didn’t want to take up all of her time. In my mind I kept thinking “the catch is, to get government assistance, as far as I have read, a non-profit has to be in operation for a certain amount of time on it’s own. How is this achieved?” ……
The last advice that Amy gave was never show art unless it is good. I loved this sentiment. I wouldn’t show my own art unless it was good. Turning off customers that were once interested due to promoting an artist that was not ready, that is the worst. That customer probably wont be back to see the artist develop, and now just thinks of the business as one that has bad art. It was great advice for every artist and studio.
My visit to Creativity Explored was beyond words amazing for me. I have so much to learn and so many questions. I could have easily spent my whole trip to San Francisco in this one studio, meeting people and picking Amy’s brain. I hope I get the chance to go back.
Creativity Explored Artist John Patrick McKenzie They are Full of Holy