Creative Growth Art Center

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Creative Growth Art Center
Ceramic projects at Creative Growth Art Center
Ceramic projects at Creative Growth Art Center
Formation1974; 45 years ago (1974)
FounderFlorence Ludins-Katz and Elias Katz
Founded atOakland, California
  • Oakland, California

Creative Growth Art Center is a nonprofit arts organization, based in Oakland, California, that provides studios, supplies, and gallery space to artists with developmental, mental, and physical disabilities.[1]


In 1974, the husband and wife pair of Florence Ludins-Katz and Elias Katz founded Creative Growith in their garage. Ludins-Katz was an artist and Katz was a psychologist.[2] A product of Bay Area grassroots collectivism and the disability-rights movement of the 1970s, the nonprofit Creative Growth Art Center is currently run by the filmmaker and former curator, Tom di Maria.[3]

Eventually, Creative Growth relocated to a former auto-repair shop near downtown Oakland, California where it currently operates.[4]

In 2010, Matthew Higgs, Director/Chief Curator at White Columns, curated a show titled "Everyone!" that featured over 130 works made by Creative Growth artists and included each and every artist currently enrolled in the studio program.[5]


Thousands of artists have come through Creative Growth's doors over the years. A number have reach national recognition. Recently, Creative Growth artists have had major exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (Judith Scott, 2018); Venice Biennale (Dan Miller and Judith Scott, 2017); Brooklyn Museum (Judith Scott, 2015);[6] Museum of Modern Art (Dan Miller, 2008); and White Columns (William Scott, 2009, 2006).[7]

Beyond Trend - fashion show[edit]

Beyond Trend is Creative Growth's runway extravaganza that started in 2010 as a small in-gallery showing of fashion. The 2018 show, its largest yet, opened at the 1,250-seat Scottish Rite Center, where it was chaired by Paper magazine co-founder Kim Hastreiter and Target Chief Creative Officer Todd Waterbury.[8]

Media Attention[edit]

Creative Growth was featured in the October 1990 issue of Elle Decor in an article tilted "Aimed Straight From The Heart" written by Susan Subtle. Subtle reviews the organization highly. She compares the style of art made at creative growth to Outsider, Primitive, Naive, Brut, and early-American folk art.[9]

In 2015, the organization was featured in a T Magazine article titled "A Training Ground For Untrained Artists" written by Nathaniel Rich.[4]

In 2018, a segment in the ninth season of Art in the Twenty-First Century, Art21 talks to some of the artists and administrators involved with Creative Growth.[10]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Creative Growth Art Center — Art21". Art21.
  2. ^ Hurwitz, Rebecca (23 October 2016). "Creative Growth Center: An unwavering community in an ever-changing Oakland | The Daily Californian". The Daily Californian.
  3. ^ Buckwalter, Timothy. "Creative Growth: An interview with Tom di Maria | KQED Arts". KQED.
  4. ^ a b Rich, Nathaniel. "A Training Ground for Untrained Artists".
  5. ^ "Everyone! - Creative Growth Art Center". Creative Growth Art Center. 28 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Brooklyn Museum: Judith Scott—Bound and Unbound".
  7. ^ "White Columns - Exhibitions - William Scott – 'Good Person'".
  8. ^ Bravo, Tony (6 April 2018). "Creative Growth's special needs clients seize the limelight at fashion show".
  9. ^ Subtle, Susan (October 1990). "Aimed Straight From The Heart". Elle Decor: 78.
  10. ^ Nwangwa, Shirley (25 July 2018). "'This Is Who I Am in the World': Preview Art21's Report on the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland". ARTnews.