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May 11, 2011 - September 25, 2011

Judith Scott: Untitled, 2003; mixed media sculpture; 19 x 8 x 9 in.; courtesy Creative Growth Art Center, Oakland.

"Startlingly powerful . . . visitors will leave exhilarated." -- San Francisco Chronicle

Create presents work made at three pioneering centers for artists with developmental disabilities, Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, San Francisco’s Creativity Explored, and NIAD Art Center in Richmond. The artists in this exhibition possess the level of talent, independence, and depth of feeling that makes the most powerful art possible. Yet, as disabled artists, their work has not been widely seen. Create showcases twenty artists whose work demonstrates both the excellence and the variety of work made at the three centers. This major survey exhibition brings well-deserved attention to their compelling work.

While they are independent and have only rarely collaborated, all three institutions were founded by two pioneers of the art and disabilities movement, Florence Ludins-Katz and Elias Katz. In the 1970s, when attitudes towards people with disabilities were changing and the disabled were gaining new legal rights, the Katzes developed an innovative new methodology for supporting artists with developmental disabilities. Their approach focused on a group studio environment, professionalism, and engagement with the broader art community.

Like other small communities that have become dynamic centers of art making, such as Gee’s Bend, Alabama, Creative Growth Art Center, Creativity Explored, and NIAD Art Center have fostered an atmosphere in which artists once seen as outsiders have made important contributions to the field of contemporary art.

Featured artists: Mary Belknap, Jeremy Burleson, Attilio Crescenti, Daniel Green, Willie Harris, Carl Hendrickson, Michael Bernard Loggins, Dwight Mackintosh, John Patrick McKenzie, James Miles, Dan Miller, James Montgomery, Marlon Mullen, Bertha Otoya, Aurie Ramirez, Evelyn Reyes, Lance Rivers, Judith Scott, William Scott, and William Tyler.

Lawrence Rinder

Create is curated by BAM/PFA Director Lawrence Rinder, with Matthew Higgs, director of White Columns, New York and was made possible in part by Dr. James B. Pick and Dr. Rosalyn M. Laudati, the LEF Foundation, and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.

A national tour of Create is being organized by Independent Curators International (ICI).