Our Year of Magic and Creative Growth

Dear Friends,

Many of us wonder what we can do to make the world a better place.

The good news is that YOU are already doing it. Your support of Creative Growth has improved the lives of the 160 artists we serve. In turn their art is touching the lives of thousands and helping to transform the cultural landscape.

As people with disabilities, our artists contend with unimaginable obstacles. In the outside world they are often marginalized and everyday they hear the word “no.” But at Creative Growth our artists hear “yes!” Inside our building they feel safe and unconditionally accepted.

Our artists count on us to support them, and we count on you to support Creative Growth.

As an artist-run organization, our staff instructors help each person find their unique path to self-expression via paint, wood, printmaking, fiber arts, drawing, digital media, sculpture, and installation. For many of our artists it may take months, or even years, before they dare assert their voice.  At Creative Growth the artist’s space and pace is respected.

Meet Creative Growth artists Chris Corr-Barberis and Latefa Noorzai

When Chris, a young man with Down Syndrome, came to Creative Growth he kept to himself. For nearly two years he made lists. His art instructor, Jo Ann Biagini, encouraged him to try his hand at drawing and after six months he completed his first art piece. This drawing was included in the Gallery’s EVERYONE show. Last month Chris’ work was exhibited at the prestigious Outsider Art Fair in Paris and both his drawings and his lists were embraced enthusiastically by global art collectors. Chris’ confidence has grown, as has his appetite for continuing his art practice.

Latefa was born in Afghanistan in 1960. She and her family came to the United States in 1995 when the Taliban came to power. Due to a brain injury Latefa’s ability to verbally communicate is limited. Three years ago she came to Creative Growth and found her voice. Within the first week Latefa filled sheet after sheet of paper with bold, ebullient brush strokes. Through a translator she tells us “I didn’t go to school, I never made art, not until they brought me here. This is my home. This is my Afghanistan.” Latefa’s paintings present a sort of “Veil meets Vogue” iconography, an example of which you will find enclosed in this letter – a small token of our appreciation.

Artists like Chris and Latefa thrive at Creative Growth because we give them what they need to be successful:
camaraderie, art materials, and all the time they need.

Creative Growth’s artists have enjoyed great success. Two of our artists were invited to exhibit at the renowned Venice Biennale. The MoMA in New York and the MoMA in San Francisco have acquired Creative Growth art works for their permanent collection. Recently Creative Growth was featured in the PBS series Art in the Twenty-First Century. You can find this episode at art21.org and learn more about our accomplishments.

For nearly 45 years Creative Growth has played a vital leadership role at the nexus of arts and culture, social services, and disabilities advocacy.

Despite our success, Creative Growth is struggling to keep pace with the Bay Area’s rising cost of living. The lack of affordable housing threatens staff retention and our artists’ ability to live near our studio. Your donations offset our general programming costs and provide efficient transportation options for our artists, high quality art materials, and an exceptionally talented staff.

EVERY dollar is meaningful. With each donation our artists hear “yes!”

In this nurturing environment, our artists, staff, and volunteers have built a thriving artist community. On behalf of all of us, we thank you for believing in the power of art. Your generosity touches many.

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

P.S. Join us December 7 from 5-9pm for the much-anticipated Holiday Show. Come admire, shop, and meet the artists that your gift supports!

P.P.S. Make a contribution of $250 or above, or become a monthly contributor, and receive a Baggu bag featuring artwork by Latefa Noorzai as our gift.