Kimball Art Center exhibition provides platform for non-verbal artists

The Kimball Art Center’s new exhibit features 10 artists from the Creative Growth Art Center of Oakland, a world-renowned nonprofit and leader in arts and disability,
David Jackson/Park Recording

The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is not a cliché for those who cannot fully express themselves verbally.

That’s the theme of the Kimball Art Center’s new exhibit, uncoincidentally titled “More Than a Thousand Wordswhich will be displayed until August 14.

Exhibit features works by 10 emerging and internationally renowned artists from Oakland’s Creative Growth Art Centera world-renowned non-profit organization and leader in the arts and disability field, said Aldy Milliken, Executive Director of the Kimball Art Center.

Creative Growth, founded in 1974, established a model of creativity based on the idea that art is fundamental to human expression and communication, he said.

“I first learned about the organization in 2010-11,” Milliken said. “I was introduced to Tom di Maria, who was the director emeritus and had worked with the studio for many years.”

The expressive works, which are featured at some of the world’s top international art fairs, such as the New Art Dealer Alliance (NADA) exhibition at Art Basel which is held in Miami each December, have piqued Milliken’s interest. .

“I started wondering what the studio was,” he said. “I’ve learned over the years that he genuinely supports artists and provides them with incredible creative resources.”

Thanks to Creative Growth, hundreds of artists, many of whom have long been marginalized, have developed sophisticated creative skills, according to Milliken.

Cocooned objects created by the late Judith Scott are some of the highlights of the Kimball Art Center’s “More Than a Thousand Words” exhibit.
David Jackson/Park Recording

Judith Scott, known for her cocoon-wrapped packages, was one of the first artists Milliken discovered through Creative Growth.

Scott was born with Down syndrome and is deaf and institutionalized for most of her life, Milliken said.

“His twin sister, Joyce, is the one who brought Creative Growth in, and she’s probably the most well-known of those artists,” he said. “Unfortunately, she has since passed away.”

Another artist featuring works in the exhibit is Susan Janow, who creates meditative abstractions, said Kimball Art Center curator Nancy Stoaks.

“We have his first pieces from 2012, where you start to see his interest in making marks, and then we have some of his current works where you can really see the abstractions,” Stoaks said. “It’s fun to see the trajectory and how she developed her style.”

“More Than a Thousand Words,” an exhibit at the Kimball Art Center, gives artists like William Tyler, who were born with a disability, a platform to express themselves.
David Jackson/Park Recording

Stoaks worked with Creative Growth to select the artists for the Kimball Art Center exhibit.

“We wanted to bring in enough artists to give a good representation of what Creative Growth does, but also to give space to those artists so people could experience the different layers of their work,” she said. declared. “The exhibition shows the range of how artists work, their mediums and what they work on.”

Stoakes took on the challenge of presenting the show, which includes more than 50 works of art and a series of short documentary videos.

“For this particular exhibition, we started with figurative work in the remote gallery to showcase artists exploring ideas about what is right and wrong in the world,” she said. “Then we moved on to strong portrait work in the next gallery. So each area has its own themes and personalities. We are thrilled to feature so many of their works here.

Milliken came up with the idea of ​​bringing “More Than a Thousand Words” to the Kimball Art Center last fall.

“I last saw Tom at the Armory art show in New York last September, and said we should do another project together, and then Nancy curated this show,” he said. -he declares. “Since we have so many people here who also make art, there’s a beautiful connection to the process, and we can learn so much from these artists who ultimately use their art as a way to communicate with the world, when they can’t. not really verbally do that. Art is the deepest form of communication, and it comes out through these works. They can tell their stories and share their images of the world.