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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) and Oakland-based Creative Growth Art Center are launching a partnership that will see the museum acquire more than 100 works associated with the non-profit and sponsor collaborative programming across the next three years.
The initiative coincides with Creative Growth’s 50th anniversary, which SFMoMA aims to mark by spotlighting “a critical and often overlooked aspect of the region’s artistic richness”, per Tuesday’s announcement. Creative Growth Art Center, along with its peer organisations in the region—Creativity Explored and Nurturing Independence through Artistic Development (NIAD)—work to provide artists with disabilities with materials, education and inclusion in the arts.
As part of the partnership, SFMoMA will acquire more than 100 works from artists associated with Creative Growth, 31 from Creativity Explored and 12 from NIAD. The museum is also planning two collaborative exhibitions with Creative Growth and a series of live events that will take place over the coming three years. The first of the exhibitions will open in spring of 2024, showcasing selections from the works acquired by SFMoMA. This will be followed by the opening of a commissioned work by Creative Growth artist William Scott—a painter notable for his murals featuring city life and culture in San Francisco—for the museum’s Bay Area Walls series,. Also in the pipeline are a community symposium and a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of Creative Growth.
“It has been far too long that art institutions have ignored or underrecognized artists with disabilities,” Ginger Shulick Porcella, the executive director of Creative Growth, said in a statement. “These talented creators can no longer be relegated to the category of ‘outsider artists’ as they firmly occupy the walls of museums worldwide.”
The works acquired from Creative Growth are by Joseph Alef, Camille Holvoet, Susan Janow, Dwight Mackintosh, John Martin, Dan Miller, Donald Mitchell, Donald Mitchell, Donald Mitchell and Ron Veasey—ten artists chosen due to their long-standing association with the organization. Acquisitions from NIAD and Creativity Explored include works by an additional 11 artists.
Since 1974, Creative Growth has sought to foster the creation and exhibition of artworks made by artists with disabilities. Artists associated with the organisation have exhibited in the Venice and Whitney biennials, and their works are in the collections of major museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Studio Museum of Harlem and the American Folk Art Museum. Creative Growth, Creativity Explored, and NIAD were founded by Elias Katz and Florence Ludins-Katz, and combine to serve artists across the entire Bay-Area.
“This partnership is part of our ongoing effort to fulfill SFMoMA’s vision to present and collect a more diverse range of artists, expanding our understanding of art history and the narratives and artists that have shaped it,” Christopher Bedford, SFMoMA’s director, said in a statement. “It is one important step of many in the museum’s overdue commitment to prioritise accessibility and artists with disabilities.”