If I were asked where in San Francisco one could consistently see the most imaginative, original, and sophisticated art, hands down I would say Creativity Explored. The center, which has provided adults with disabilities the opportunity to express themselves through art since 1983, has just officially opened its gallery at the site. The space that had served as the studio's lobby and storefront has been renovated to showcase the work of its eighty members, who range in age from eighteen to eighty. What strikes me the most about all of the art created here is the lack of pretension combined with a fearless self-expression that translates into a very powerful vision. Currently the work on view includes Sara O'Sullivan's whimsical grid drawings of birds and figures, and papier mache sculptures; Betty Bernard's highly-textured, complex collages that bring to mind Romare Bearden; and Frank Castello's colorful tile houses. One of the most stunning and delightful pieces is by Ricardo Estella. A rough-hewn, yet intricate gold papier mache Spanish-style church features murals of Noah's ark, mermaids and angels. The gallery also has several standing files of works on paper to peruse. Here I found a great collection of texts by visual poet, John Patrick McKenzie, who always proves to be profoundly observant. McKenzie's latest musings include: “disliking the Beatles, disliking election day, disliking Rod Steward.” I also discovered Andrew Li's charming series of drawings on cardboard that chronicle the mass transportation systems of “San Francisco,” “New York City Big,” and “Oregon,” to name a few. Li was included last year in the “Bay Area Now 2” show at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Likewise many of the artists at Creativity Explored have been included in exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles. The opening of the gallery space also corresponds with the studio's annual Holiday Sale, which opens this weekend, starting on Friday, December 1, 6 – 9 p.m.. I highly recommend getting there early!
Creativity Explored of San Francisco
3245 16 th Street (at Guerrero), San Francisco
Mon. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sat. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Holiday Sale: Dec. 1 6 – 9 p.m., Dec. 2 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Dec. 3 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
(415) 863-2108 (Megan Wilson)