Image: A gallery of Judith Scotts work

Creative Growth Art Center: Where Artists with Disabilities Thrive

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.”

Henry Ward Beecher

Art, in any form, is a way of communicating. It can be invisible, coming to you in soundwaves, with or without words, colored, painted, woven, pinned, carved, and molded until it’s saying exactly what you need it to. Art is an expression, and for those of us who find it difficult to express ourselves, this is the ticket to let the people around you see how you’re experiencing the world.

The Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California is a professional studio space where artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities can explore their talents and express themselves in any medium that they desire. A handful of these artists have works acquired by museums like MoMA and have been invited to the Venice Biennale! So, let’s see what’s happening in this space to inspire them…

Image: A gallery of some of the great Judith Scotts work, created at creative growth arts center
Work by Judith Scott, an exceptional artist from Creative Growth whose work has been seen throughout the world. You can learn more about her here
Source: Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider ArtFollow // Flickr

Creative Growth is the oldest and largest center in the world for artists with disability. They’ve been supporting and inspiring hundreds of artists since 1974 through their studio program, where they supply artists with all the materials and instruction that they need to enhance their craft. They also help artists create a working portfolio, as well as provide access to a gallery to present their work to the public. 1

Thankfully, Great Big Story did a wonderful feature on them so that we can peer into this awesome community of creatives.

Via: Great Big Story 2

Art is an expression of an experience here in this world, and everyone deserves to be able and be supported in telling their story. We’re a species that thrives off of communication, and as Tom di Maria pointed out in the video above, art is the common language between us all. Despite whatever may be standing in your way that can’t be changed, art is that something you can manipulate however you’d like to show your experience here, and this expression shouldn’t be limited.

If you’d like to learn a little more about the experience of being involved with Creative Growth, their history and how they’re helping the artists become profitable, this article, A Training Ground for Untrained Artists by Nathaniel Rich of the New York Times is absolutely wonderful.

You can explore the work of the artists at Creative Growth by visiting their site, and the center also has a wonderful Vimeo channel where we can see a few of them in action!

But the best way to stay up to date with what the artists are up to is definitely by giving Creative Growth a follow on Instagram (@creativegrowth)!

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So, what if there were more spaces like this? How much could we end up learning from each other?

I’m sure everyone could benefit from a little creative growth.

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein


  1. “Our Programs.” Creative Growth Art Center, Accessed 19 June 2018.
  2. “Giving Artists With Disabilities a Space to Thrive.” YouTube, Great Big Story, 14 May 2018, Accessed 18 June 2018.
Image: Samantha Burns

Sam Burns

Former Editor-In-Chief

Sam wrote and edited hundreds of articles during her time on the Goodness Exchange team from 2016-2021. She wrote about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the Goodness Exchange, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and procurer of cheeses.

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