The Man and I took an incredible trip to San Francisco in 2010. We spent a week, and on our ramble to the Mission District, we stopped in to take a peek at the Creativity Explored studio and gallery. For the life of me, I cannot remember how I had heard about this place, but it was, for me, the highlight of the trip.
Creativity Explored is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides space, materials, as well as access to mentor artists for adults with developmental disabilities who enjoy expression through making art. The organization also organizes exhibits and maintains an online shop through which the artists can sell their work, providing income, and an opportunity for self advocacy.
At first, The Man and I looked around the gallery, finding several pieces we wanted to take home. The person behind the desk asked if we wanted to go in the studio. We looked at each other and said, “Yes! Is it open to the public?” He assured us it was, and we went through the entryway into the studio. There were about 15 adults working on various projects, some with mentor artists at their side, some without. We wandered through the workspace trying to peek at the works in progress without being too intrusive. Some of the artists were talking or singing to themselves. Some were oblivious to our presence, others were wary, and still others waved and welcomed us. One artist in particular, Peter, greeted us warmly and enthusiastically, giving us a tour of the studio, and lead us to the kiln, telling us all about the firing process, and showing us his just-fired work. He was very proud, and very happy to have an audience.
We left Creativity Explored, shortly after, realizing we had spent over an hour there. We were both pretty quiet for awhile, and then remarked to each other what an amazing experience that had been. And the art! The art gave me such a new perspective, because these artists were clearly communicating their lives and experiences through this medium, which gave them so much more power to “speak” for themselves.
If you are ever in San Francisco, you must stop in. It was life changing for me, leading me to earn a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management last year — I was so inspired by this organization doing so much good for adults with developmental disabilities It has become a new dream for me to be involved with an organization like this.
If you aren’t going to San Francisco anytime soon, please visit the website, buy something, make a donation. They are doing amazing work, and the artists themselves will blow you away. (You can look up Peter Cordova, too, and check out his work!)