Clare V. and Creative Growth Create Feel-good Art to Wear

Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, Calif., has always had strong ties to fashion, with longtime supporters in editors Kim Hastreiter and Mickey Boardman, showroom owner and designer Stella Ishii, retailer Ben Ospital of Modern Appealing Clothing, jeweler Irene Neuwirth and many more.

Founded in 1974 by Elias Katz and Florence Ludins-Katz, the nonprofit has spent five decades nurturing the artistic talents of individuals with developmental disabilities, with more than 140 artists being served currently. And now, as part of its 50th anniversary and the current exhibition “The House That Art Built” at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the organization is launching a collaboration on Friday with L.A. accessory brand Clare V.

The partnership features a collection of designer Clare Vivier‘s leather accessories transformed by Creative Growth artists Juan Aguilera, Tanisha Warren, Dan Miller, Susan Janow, Donald Mitchell and others into art to wear, including the Midi bag ($450) and coin purse ($100).

The pieces are available to shop at the gallery in Oakland, online at its website, and at the SFMOMA Design Store. All proceeds from the collection will be reinvested into Creative Growth, directly supporting the artists by providing them with materials, support services and opportunities for recognition.

“Clare V. is more than just a brand; we are a force for positive change, constantly striving to foster equality, kindness and community,” said Vivier, who has also done collaborations and work to support nonprofit organizations including Every Mother Counts, Everytown for Gun Safety and Hilarity for Charity. “Our collaboration with Creative Growth perfectly reflects our commitment and supports their incredible mission to empower artists with developmental, mental and physical challenges.”

Wearable art has always been a part of Creative Growth’s output, “and we’re hoping to do more partnerships like Clare’s where we’re being introduced to a whole new audience,” said Ibby Sasso, director of marketing at Creative Growth, and former KCD fashion publicist. “We’re excited to hear from brands and are proactive in reaching out to brands we’d like to work with and that we think our artists would feel great about.”

SFMOMA made a historic acquisition of 100 works by Creative Growth’s artists with disabilities last year honoring the emergence of the art and disability movement in the Bay Area. “The House That Art Built,” open through Oct. 6, is the first of two exhibitions the museum is organizing for the center’s artists. On Sept. 25, Hastreiter will host the 50th anniversary gala and “Beyond Trend” Fashion Show at the museum.

Creative Growth will also be building awareness on the East Coast through a partnership with the 16th edition of the Volta NY Art Fair in September.

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