The Kinkade Family Foundation partners with organizations local and abroad to bring art education to children. In addition to our own programming, today we’re thrilled to bring you a brand new series, "Bay Area Arts Showcase," where we highlight local arts nonprofits making a difference in the Bay Area. We are excited to learn about the beauty that lives within our city and are already inspired by the incredible talent and impressive programs these organizations offer our community.
Our first installment of this series features a visit to Creativity Explored by Chandler Kinkade. We hope you enjoy learning about this compelling organization just as much as we have.
“Quality is all about imagination. They [Creativity Explored] just let us ‘do’ here. It’s all about imagination.” - Vincent Jackson, Artist at Creativity Explored
Located in the bustling Mission district in San Francisco, Creativity Explored is a non-profit organization that provides artists with developmental disabilities the means to create, exhibit, and sell their art through their on-site studios and galleries.
Once Merritt and I heard about Creativity Explored and the impact they were making on not only the Bay Area community but the contemporary art world as well, we headed to the Mission to see what they were all about.
We were blown away. The gallery front is tucked into an arched entrance on 16th Street, and within lies a full gallery room featuring a curated themed exhibit, a reception area with merchandise from t-shirts to wrapping paper for sale, and a 5,500 square foot studio. The art on the gallery walls are colorful, interesting, and every piece is from artists who create on-site with the organization.
Creativity Explored currently has two locations in San Francisco: a gallery and studio in Potrero Hill and a gallery and studio in the Mission District. Both galleries invite professional curators to apply to curate one of their rotating shows. Once the curator is selected, he or she curates the exhibit exclusively from art made at Creativity Explored. Any artwork that is sold from the gallery is split 50% going to the artist and 50% going back into the organization. The artists also receive royalties from any merchandise sold that contains their art on it.
Just beyond the gallery, two doors open up to the magic of the space: the studio workshop. At a first glance there is much to take in, with art hanging from every available spot, tables covered with art supplies and in-progress projects, the floor is peppered with spilled color and movement, and most importantly working artists fill the room. Once assimilated, we were able to fully realize the beauty of what is going on here.
There are 135 artists who currently work at one or both of the two Creativity Explored studios. The artists who were working on the day that Merritt and I visited were creating with an unbroken concentration, and it was clear they were intensely enjoying their projects. We saw multiple projects being worked on during our visit: drawing, painting, textiles, sculpture, knitting, and digital art, just to name a few. The best part? Creativity Explored provides these materials and the workspace to their artists at no cost to them.
When the artists noticed Merritt and I looking around we were immediately greeted by huge smiles and a few of them even got up to give us big hugs! They gave us the warmest of welcomes and it was apparent that these artists are happy.
GUEST ARTIST PROGRAM
While Creativity Explored’s Communications Associate, Charlotte Russell, gave us a wonderful tour of the space, we were able to meet one of their current Guest Artists. Charlotte explained that they have full time, part time, and rotating instructors that are continually teaching new forms of art to the artists. Their rotating instructor is typically accepted through Creativity Explored’s Artist in Residency Program where the first part of their stay is spent working on the artist’s own work in the studio, and the second part is spent teaching the Creativity Explored artists their craft.
MAKING A LIVING DOING WHAT THEY LOVE
In doing my own research I learned that, according to the Employment Development Department, “An estimated 2.8 million working-age Californians had a disability in 2011. Among all states, California’s disabled person population was the largest in number.” In addition, “of the 2.8 million working-age disabled persons in California, only 104,000 persons (17.7 percent) were unemployed.” Creativity Explored gives these artists an outlet to express themselves and a way to bring in a viable income - all while doing what they love!
We at the Kinkade Family Foundation believe that this is what art is all about: getting creative, learning about yourself, doing what you love and - in the words of Creativity Explored Artist Vincent - using your imagination!
Here is a video that gives you a glimpse of just some of the lives being transformed by Creativity Explored. Video by Tom Seawell:
VISIT CREATIVITY EXPLORED
One Arkansas Street (at 16th Street), Studio E
San Francisco CA 94107
CE2 STUDIO HOURS
Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 2:30 pm
CE2 PUBLIC HOURS
Monday - Friday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
MAIN STUDIO / GALLERY / OFFICES
3245 16th Street (at Guerrero Street)
San Francisco, CA 94103
MAIN STUDIO HOURS
Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 2:30 pm
Monday - Friday 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Thursday 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday - Sunday 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
CONNECT WITH CREATIVITY EXPLORED