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Entries in Creativity Explored (24)


artist profile: mary belknap

In partnership with San Francisco’s Creativity Explored, a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with develop­mental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art, artist Mary Belknap’s creation—originally an oil pastel with bold strokes of color—is reinterpreted as a hand-tufted wool rug.

Mary Belknap was born in 1944 and has been a studio artist at Creativity Explored since 1995. She’s adept with many mediums—including fabric creating lively works incorporating embroidery and soft sculpture—but works mostly with oil pastels and pencils.

Mary makes intricate compositions and deftly integrates small geometric color planes to create two-dimensional works that resemble textile art. Trees and other organic forms are often found in her mostly non-representational paintings and drawings.

With an incredible eye for color, the warm tonals of red/orange radiate toward a cool blue/green center while brite white geometry focuses the eye making the artist’s signature woven into a corner an intergral aspect of the composition.

To spend one minute with Mary Belknap in the Creativity Explored studio, go here.


artist profile: valerie long

As one of CB2’s collaborative projects with Creativity Explored—a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art—an ink and marker print by artist Valerie Long frees an abstract indigo butterfly into an electric yellow sky with bright pink bloom.

Valerie Long was born in 1955 and has been working at Creativity Explored since 2005. Graphite, ink, markers and paper are her preferred media—she uses fabric for its two-dimensional quality as well.

Long works mostly in black and white but is not averse to using color. Her work appears abstract but is often based on the structure of everyday objects. Long’s matter-of-fact, relaxed personality communicates its opposite reflection in her work, where a visual curiosity and intriguing grasp of pattern are filtered through her investigations into the act of seeing.

Tireless hatching and pointillist gestures are definitive aspects of Valerie’s engagement with drawing. She’s made beautiful translations of crystals into stippled, slanting boxes which, through painstaking and delicate repetition, are extracted from the mineral world and placed in ours of motion and light.

To spend one minute with Valerie Long in the Creativity Explored studio, go here.


artist profile: maria berrios

Created in partnership with San Francisco’s Creativity Explored, a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art—animated birds, critters, bugs and fireflies buzz whimsically within the warp and weft of the entre flores y pajaros rug.

Born in El Salvador in 1959, artist Maria Berrios has been gracing Creativity Explored with her dynamic artwork and jovial nature since 1999.

Berrios works in a variety of drawing media and also enjoys printmaking. From family groupings, flora, and fauna, her favorite color—red—is well represented with all of her typical subjects. Berrios’ art making process is very slow and meticulous. After sketching a composition, she often places her subjects around the picture plane so that the piece may be viewed from any direction.

Her fantastical, naïve vision, which translates to “among flowers and birds”, is hand-tufted in great detail—using no less than in 28 colors of wool yarns—with her signature woven in each.

To spend one minute with Maria Berrios in the Creativity Explored studio, go here.


creativity explored

Creativity Explored is a non-profit visual arts center in San Francisco where local artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell their artwork. Initiated in 1983 by Florence and Elias Katz based on the principal that all people have the ability to create, and that artistic expression is a viable means to self-growth, they support artists with workspaces, materials, and studio sessions.

Over a year ago our San Francisco store manager asked the staff how they could connnect with local organizations, and voila they discovered Creativity Explored. They soon coordinated an in-store event where select artists were invited to paint one of our bentwood dining chairs; they were then auctioned and profits directly benefited the organization (two examples are shown above).

We loved the chairs and continue to admire the artwork and artists on their website. So starting this Fall, in an effort to combine our eco- and social-conscious causes, we married the two and came up with a reusable canvas tote featuring artwork by a participating artist.

For our first collaboration, a limited edition of 2700 gallery totes will feature “Houses” by artist Antonio Benjamin; and for every tote produced, a percentage of the proceeds will go directly to Creativity Explored. Each tote is made of 100% unbleached cotton with lead- and cadmium-free inks.

Would you like to know when our next project debuts? In the meantime, Creativity Explored has themed exhibitions planned through 2009. Check out their website for the roster and selected works available for purchase.

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