Editor’s note: Judith Scott passed away on March 14, 2005.

Since 1973, Oakland’s Creative Growth Art Center has been a nurturing ground for adults with mental, emotional and physical disabilities, providing them with creative art programs, educational and independent living training, counseling, and vocational opportunities. As the first independent visual art center and art gallery, this nonprofit organization also serves as an advocate for the disabled and provides services to teachers, caregivers, families, therapists and other persons who work in the fields of arts and disabilities.

Creative Growth is a productive playground for more than 130 hardworking artists in a variety of media, including painting, woodworking, ceramics and textiles. The artists exhibit their work at the Center’s Gallery as well as galleries and museums around the world. Spark investigates the creative impulses behind this miraculous place and the people who work and create there.

Just one of the amazing artists from this art center was Judith Scott, who was born with Down’s syndrome and could neither hear nor speak. Institutionalized for 35 years before her twin sister brought her to Creative Growth at the age of 44, Scott spent most of her life isolated from social contact with very little concept of language and no grasp of art. Yet when artist Sylvia Seventy of Creative Growth introduced her to fiber art in 1987, Scott was able to communicate through the mysteriously abstract beauty of her sculptures. Scott’s elaborate labyrinths of yarn, which surround a myriad of found objects, gained her the attention of art collectors and art critics around the world.

Creative Growth Art Center 4 August,2015Spark
  • Array
  • Array
  • Array

Related Episodes

A Room of One’s Own

Step inside some places where artists can live, work and play together.

Home Sweet Home

Examine the influence of home on art institutions around the Bay Area.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor