|Leeza Doreian at work in her West Oakland studio|
We sat around Leeza's dining room table, chatting, admiring reproductions of artwork, and sipping coffee in a brightly lit room that opens to her backyard; the liquid warble of a House finch punctuated our conversation. Leeza suggested that Creativity Explored and similar organizations -- Creativity Explored, Creative Growth, and NIAD Art Center are all Bay Area organizations dedicated to working with artists with developmental and/or physical disabilities, and all three were founded by Florence and Elias Katz -- aim to help people "access their own abilities."
Leeza described the role of the teaching artist, her official title at the organization, as that of a facilitator. It's not art therapy, she insisted, but "it happens to be therapeutic." One gets the sense this salubrious effect is a two-way street, benefiting both the Creativity Explored studio artists and the teaching artists. Leeza described how freeing she finds the Creativity Explored environment because most people exhibit a healthy lack of self-consciousness, staff included. "I'm generally a shy person," she told us, "but not there."
Please join us on May 6 for Leeza's presentation, "Con-Currents: Creativity, Individuality, and Community." Leeza will share with the audience an overview of a typical day at Creativity Explored, and then showcase the work of five or six studio artists.
Image credit: courtesy Leeza Doreian