Three tall conical sculptures with faces and patterns at the top

Miriam Munguia. All images courtesy of Chronicle Book, shared with permission

Spurred by the belief that art changes lives, Florence and Elias Katz founded Creativity Explored in 1983, a San Francisco-based nonprofit studio and gallery designed for disabled neurodivergent artists. More than 135 people currently participate in its programming, learning techniques across painting, drawing, clay, textiles, and more. They also sell and exhibit their works in museums, galleries, and art fairs worldwide.

A new book by Ann Kappes, Creativity Explored’s director of artist partnerships, celebrates the organization’s 40th anniversary and continued support of artists with a diverse range of abilities. Art Is Art: Collaborating with Neurodiverse Artists at Creativity Explored features hundreds of works organized by themes like “Dance Party!,” “I Speak Through My Art,” and “Blackiful.” While some chapters highlight single artists, others, like “Mail Art Club,” situate an ongoing group project within the broader realm of art history.

Originating in the 1960s with the Fluxus movement, mail art resurged during the pandemic, including with the artists of Creativity Explored. Teachers began connecting with their students via USPS and Zoom, sending each other letters and packages containing their artworks when they were unable to gather in the studio. This imaginative way of exchanging art and ideas continues now that artists are back together in person, and the Mail Art Club still meets regularly.

Another chapter is dedicated to Camille Holvoet, who’s been working with the organization since 2001, and creates mixed-media renderings of pills and syrups to remedy any issue. Titled “Medicine Helps,” the section presents several of her stylized, witty pharmaceuticals and their purposes, from “Anti-Worrying Pills about Anything” to “A Pill for Doing What I Am Supposed to Do.” Along with a description of her practice and thinking, Holvoet relatably adds, “Making art is the hardest part of art.”

Art Is Art is published by Chronicle Books and available from Bookshop.


a medusa like figure holds a bowl of white balls in her hand whiel her hair crawls in every direction

Yukari Sakura

a portrait of a man in a white toga-like outfit with an elaborate collar around his neck. he's seated in an ornate chair

Joseph Omolayole

a drawing of a wolf like animal covered in various motifs. a yellow form snakes around its neck and body

Christina Fong

A minimal rendering a five buildings in pastel hues

James Miles

a bison in a prairie

Albert Duong

a ceramic bust of a lucha libre figure with three yellow stars on its head and a blue mask

Kevin Roach

the book art is art

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