Help Rebuild Our Home

Special Renovations Project

Help Rebuild Our Home!

Over the past 31 years, CGAC has grown from the first independent art center for people with disabilities to an internationally recognized center whose artists are exhibited and collected in contemporary art and outsider art contexts around the world. Today CGAC engages over 150 adults from the San Francisco Bay Area in 69 ongoing workshops. Classes are led by professional artists in a range of media, including painting, drawing, ceramics, woodworking, printmaking, rugs, and sculpture.

In addition to our arts programming, Creative Growth Arts Center provides our artists with a daily Independent Living Skills class for 12 artists/class. Participants sign up for the classes quarterly. Currently the schedule includes: Monday - Current Events Reading; Tuesday - Nutrition and Cooking; Wednesday - Yoga; Thursday - Group Therapy; and Friday - Dance Movement.

Creative Growth is a vital model of artistic and economic empowerment. The population we work with is one of the most underserved and poorest communities in the country and close to 90% of the individuals we serve survive on less than $10,000 a year. Moreover, while Oakland, CA, has the largest population of people with disabilities in the country, it also suffers from a critical lack of resources typical of economically distressed urban centers.

Over the past four years, Creative Growth has paid over $291,574 in commissions to our 150 artists with disabilities. We believe in using a professional model for paying our artists for works they have sold; 50% of sales are paid to the artist and 50% are paid to the gallery. This standard of payment is part Creative Growth's philosophy that recognizes our artists as working professionals. Additionally, each of our artists receives a quarterly check regardless of whether they have sold individual works. Payment is based on the sales of cooperative merchandise from our gallery store, such as T-shirts, cards, coffee cups. The stipend is sometimes as low as $30; however the gesture of receiving an income from working as an artist is significant to our clients. Creative Growth is one of the only resources in the country for artists with disabilities to sustain a career in the arts. CGAC's free exhibitions provide an important and sometimes sole source of income for our artists, and act as a powerful means of demystifying an often, invisible community. CGAC has ten annual in-house exhibitions and an extensive schedule of outside exhibitions. CGAC's instructors are themselves distinguished artists in their field, with a long list of public commissions and artistic recognitions.

In 1982 Creative Growth purchased our home, a former auto-body repair shop, in downtown Oakland. In 1994 we completed necessary seismic renovations, prompted by the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. The project was funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For the past 23 years, our 13,000 sq. ft. facility has provided Creative Growth with a secure and valuable space for our artists to develop and showcase their work in a thriving, supportive environment. Several years ago it became increasingly apparent that CGAC would have to make renovations to our physical space to meet our growing needs, including an expanding community of working artists, new class offerings, an increased gallery audience, a growing permanent and exhibition collection, accessibility upgrades, and safety upgrades. Staff conducted an assessment and identified specific capital improvements based on their observations and consultation with several contractors. Consequently, CGAC received cost estimates from Davis Langdon Adamson Associates. Based on these projections, we developed a Business Plan to move forward and guide our renovation. In spring 2005 CGAC secured Fougeron Architecture as our architects, and Higuera Associates as our general contractors. Higuera Associates has agreed to complete work at cost as a donation by the contractor. Renovations to our center are critical to Creative Growth's continuation as a sustainable international leader in the field; for our artists with disabilities to continue in their tenure as successful working artists in a thriving and accessible physical environment; and to the continuation of exciting public-private partnerships with leading contemporary artists through our Visiting Artist program.

Specific renovations include:
a. Safety Upgrades: Improved and streamlined electrical system and improved kiln area
b. Increased Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible power doors to the building and bathrooms, new toilets, a power lift, a shower, an elevator to the second floor, upgraded wheelchair ramps between studio, gallery, and kitchen spaces
c. Improved Overall Habitability: Improved air ventilation, heating, and lighting
d. More Efficient Use of Existing Space
e. Redesigned Gallery and Gallery Store

You Can Make it Happen!
The scope of our project is ambitious - it will cost more than one half million dollars. But pledges from our Board and closest supporters have already raised over $350,000 in pledges. Please help us finish the campaign and rebuild our home. With your help we can do it - and our artists will be deeply thankful for their new facility.Please join us in our efforts to the needed capital improvements to our renowned studio space and gallery for visionary artists with disabilities. Gifts may be pledged over a 3-year period, payable in monthly, quarterly or annual gifts. Additionally, Higuera and Associates will manage construction at cost, so your gift will have maximum impact.

To make a donation, you can send a check to:
Creative Growth Art Center
355 24th Street
Oakland, CA 94612

To find out more information you can contact Creative Growth at: