In 2024, Creative Growth Art Center celebrates its 50th anniversary as one of the world’s oldest and largest independent art centers for people with disabilities. To highlight these five decades of achievement, Creative Growth’s Director Emeritus Tom di Maria will present a special exhibition titled Expanding the Canon: 50 Years of Creative Growth at OAF featuring artwork and ephemera drawn from the Center’s private collection and private collections in NY.
Included in the exhibit will be never before seen works from renowned Creative Growth artists including Dwight Mackintosh, Donald Mitchell, William Scott, Monica Valentine, Aurie Ramirez, William Tyler and Judith Scott. The exhibit will also highlight the Center’s historical importance as a model for numerous similar programs world-wide, its role as host of multiple symposia about art and disability, and an its vibrant exhibition program that has brought the work of the Center’s artists to venues as diverse as the Museum of Modern Art, the Venice Biennale and the Centre Pompidou.
The exhibit comes at a time of celebration for the organization. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art recently announced an exciting multi-year partnership with Creative Growth including the acquisition of 113 works from the Center’s artists into the permanent collection of the museum. This landmark partnership, the result of decades of work to advance and elevate the understanding and acceptance of artists with disabilities in the contemporary art world, is a signature accomplishment of historic proportion, and these artists will be represented here in recognition of their achievement.
Please join us for what will certainly prove to be a memorable and visually captivating exhibition.
-Tom di Maria
Tom di Maria has served as Creative Growth Art Center’s Director since 2000. As Director, he has developed partnerships with museums, galleries and international design companies to help bring Creative Growth's artists with disabilities fully into the contemporary art world. He speaks around the world about the Center’s major artists and their relationship to both Outsider Art and contemporary culture. Prior to this position, he served as Assistant Director of the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, at UC Berkeley. Tom has also worked as the Executive Director of the San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, and as Director of Development and Marketing at the San Francisco Film Society. He holds a B.F.A. from Rochester Institute of Technology and a M.F.A. from Maryland Institute, College of Art, in film and photography. Tom is also an award-winning filmmaker, with short film awards from Sundance, Sinking Creek, National Educational Media, and New York Experimental film festivals. In 2019, he was awarded the Visionary Award by the American Folk Art Museum in New York.