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Former CE artists in the late 1980s celebrating the magic of CE
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Creativity Explored chosen as a San Francisco Legacy Business

Posted on October 2, 2018

After 35 years in San Francisco’s Mission District, Creativity Explored has been chosen to be a San Francisco Legacy Business by San Francisco’s Small Business Commission. Nominated by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, Creativity Explored was chosen alongside five other local businesses: California Wine Merchant, Great Wall Hardware, IXIA, The Jug Shop,and San Francisco Bay View Black Newspaper. CE is proud to join past awardees like City Lights and the Roxie.

To be a Legacy Business, an organization must have operated in San Francisco for at least 30 years, contributed to the history and identity of a San Francisco neighborhood, and be committed to maintaining the traditions that define the business. The full registry of San Francisco Legacy Businesses, including a Google Map of locations, can be seen here.

In 1983, San Francisco was caught in the throes of the AIDS epidemic. Activists staged die-ins against the nuclear arms race. San Franciscans mobilized to address societal problems, a trait deeply rooted in the city’s identity. Motivated by this spirit of action, Creativity Explored sought to address the marginalization of people with developmental disabilities using art, its tool of choice.

Florence Ludins-Katz and her husband Elias Katz founded Creativity Explored in 1983 in response to new policies that led to the deinstitutionalization of adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness. The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, passed in the California Legislature in 1967, shut down most institutions serving the mentally ill, leaving many of them without care and vulnerable to the criminal justice system.

Creativity Explored became an alternative. Artists were welcomed into the Mission neighborhood studio, given paintbrushes, and encouraged to create. In 1995, Creativity Explored opened a second studio in Potrero Hill for artists requiring a higher level of support. Today, CE artists exhibit internationally and work at community art studios, like the Mission’s Art Explosion.

The artists at CE come from all over; many come from countries like the Philippines, South Africa, and El Salvador, while others were born and raised in San Francisco. They’ve found a home at Creativity Explored, both at our two locations and as a part of our expansive community. Artists are encouraged to explore their abilities, strengthen their relationship with the wider San Francisco community, and establish a career in the art world.

Vincent Jackson has been a studio artist at Creativity Explored since 1984. “We’re somebody in the community. We’re somebody nationally,” he says. “This is a center that does miraculous things.”

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