Directors’ Note | Year End Letter

Dear Friend,

If you had to summarize your passion in life in just one sentence, what would you say? If you immediately know your answer, you’ll probably see a little bit of yourself in our artists, Elizabeth and Barry.

Elizabeth knew she wanted to be a fashion designer when she was just 10 years old. Growing up with Down syndrome in the 1990’s, she faced narrow-minded assumptions about her potential. Coupled with a sudden loss of her mother early in her life, she began sketching in an effort to heal. She dreamt that one day she’d transform her fashion ideas into reality. Then in 2011, Elizabeth came to Creative Growth and challenged assumptions head on.

She poured herself into her creative process, unlocked her potential as a designer, and hasn’t looked back since. Today, she’s developing sensational, fresh looks for our annual runway event, Beyond Trend, and is a featured artist in Nordstrom’s 2017 Fall Fashion Campaign – turning the traditional notion of who can be an artist and a fashion model today on its head.

By supporting Creative Growth with a gift today, you ensure over 150 artists with disabilities, like Elizabeth, have the opportunity to nurture their potential in a safe, supportive community year-round.

Like Elizabeth, Barry came to Creative Growth and discovered his potential to thrive as a visionary artist. Despite battling serious health issues, alongside complications from managing a dual diagnosis, his passion for painting has continued to grow. Because it calms him, Barry likes to work in our garden everyday. It’s this love of nature that has inspired the color and intricate patterns in his work.

Today, Barry is one of four artists with artwork featured in a brand new line of Method brand cleaning products, currently being sold in Target stores nationwide – extending the reach of his art to an audience of millions!

“At Creative Growth, I paint every day and spend time with friends.” -Barry

The support and opportunity Elizabeth and Barry receive at Creative Growth have allowed them to channel their determination and hard work successfully into their craft and reach new levels of success. We hope you’ll join us in our mission to push the innovative work of artists with disabilities further into the mainstream by contributing today.

In 2017, many of our artists who are paving the way for others in the contemporary art world, gained unprecedented levels of mainstream exposure.

*The work of Dan Miller and Judith Scott (d.2005) was included in the 2017 Venice Biennale – a historic first for artists with disabilities.

*Artists Barry Regan, Aurie Ramirez, Maureen Clay, and Allan Lofberg have artwork paired with four limited-edition Method home-cleaning products – which hit Target stores across America in October 2017.

*We published Volume II of the Creative Growth Magazine to rave reviews, effectively allowing our artists to control their own narratives in their communication with the public.

*Artists Elizabeth Rangel and William Scott were featured in Nordstrom’s 2017 Fall Fashion campaign.

*William Scott’s work was accepted into the permanent collection of SFMOMA, his hometown museum – marking another remarkable achievement on his path forward.

Even with these incredible strides, we have so much work left to do to ensure all artists with disabilities have the chance to thrive as contemporary artists. Creative Growth artists are passionate about their work. Your annual gift offers them the encouragement and the tools they need to advance for another year.

Thank you for making their work possible!

All the best,
Tom di Maria, Director
Becki Couch-Alvarado, Executive Director

P.S. Make a contribution of $250 or above and be the first to receive a copy of a new book about Creative Growth artist, William Scott, to be released to the public in January 2018.