Design Matters: Creativity Explored

1. What is Creativity Explored’s mission?

Believing that all people have the ability to create, and that visual artistic expression is a viable means to enhance personal identity and growth, Florence Ludins-Katz and Elias Katz started Creativity Explored in 1983. We are a nonprofit visual art center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art.

 

2. Tell us a bit about the artists involved with Creativity Explored.

Approximately 130 artists, ages 21 to mid-80s, currently work in our studios; some have been here since our founding. They come from diverse backgrounds and have a wide range of experience and ability. Initially, when we opened, some of our artists were coming out of institutions. Now an increased number of younger artists who have lived in the community with their families are joining the studio. We are also seeing more people with autism than we were 30 years ago.

 

3. How do the programs work?

We supply the instruction, materials, and workspace. The artists determine what medium and subject matter they would like to explore, then we tailor the program to fit their interests and needs. We’re constantly evolving. For example, as more artists became interested in digital media, we started a computer printmaking and animation program.

 

4. In what ways do you help the artists contribute to the contemporary art world?

Our gallery features a combination of solo exhibitions, thematic exhibitions, artist-curated exhibitions, and the popular annual holiday exhibition. Artists have an opportunity to exhibit throughout the year, and their work is always available and displayed in the studio as well. We promote their artwork through regular gallery exhibitions, daily sales, our two studios, off-site exhibitions, art fairs, and our licensing service. Additionally, our website acts as a primary vehicle for promotion, with an online store, blog, and artist bios. Fifty percent of sale proceeds go directly to the artist.

 

5. What are some of the current and upcoming exhibitions?

Our current exhibition, Super Contemporary, runs through June 17. Organized by guest curator and artist Jenny Sharaf, it highlights the work of 10 local artists. From June 25 through August 5, DOTS & DASHES: Another Morse Code will showcase pieces by Linda Davenport and Richard Wright. From August 13 through September 30, visitors can catch Forte, a group exhibition in which artists interpret sheet music.

 

6. How does Creativity Explored seek to engage the community?

Artmaking can be a solitary experience. Our studios, however, are supported group environments that are open to the public, allowing visitors to see the process and meet the person behind the work. By encouraging the community to interact with the artists and view art by people with developmental disabilities and judge it on its own merit, Creativity Explored is changing perspectives—and hopefully eliminating negative pre-conceived notions about art and disability.