RHD’s Center for Creative Works exhibits at New York Outsider Art Fair

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“I met Hugh Dancy!” exclaimed Paige, an artist at RHD’s Center for Creative Works. “And I sold two paintings to him.  He did a movie called Ella Enchanted.  He played Prince Charming.  He got my two paintings!”

The Center for Creative Works is a unique, creative arts day program for people with intellectual disabilities with a focus on arts and arts based skill-building, education, in-house generated vocational opportunities and community involvement.  Paige and 10 of her fellow CCW artists were accepted to The Outsider Art Fair in New York Jan. 18-21. It’s the nation’s biggest showcase for outsider artists, and among the many people who flocked to see the work of artists from CCW was indeed actor Hugh Dancy. Dancy visited with the artists, posed for a picture with Paige and purchased three paintings.

Outsider art is created by self-taught or naïve art makers who are not typically part of the artistic establishment.  After an extensive vetting process that began last June, CCW was one of 63 art galleries from seven countries that were selected to show work by outsider artists.

“We were curated into the show and it’s the first time that we are there on our own as a studio representing our artists,” CCW Director Lori Bartol said. “It puts us on a different level of visibility and viability with other art studios like ours.”

“Our booth was very engaging because it had a lot of different kinds of things in it – some weavings, some sculptures,” said Samantha Mitchell, CCW’s Exhibition Coordinator. “People were drawn into the area.  It was exciting for people to get a chance to talk to those who work directly with artists to get a sense of their process.”

Bartol said, “I honestly heard people say it was their favorite booth.”

The Center for Creative Works sold most of the pieces they brought to the Outsider Art Fair.

“They loved my art,” artist Mary Bevlock said. “It made me feel great!”

Bartol said the Outsider Art Fair already invited CCW back next year, and the studio is looking forward to CCW artists exhibiting in New York in the coming years.

“It was good for us as an organization and really good for our artists,” Bartol said. “It’s interesting, it’s fun and we made money! What was really important by being at the fair was that our artists not only got exposure in front of all those people, but we have also potentially developed collectors who will continue to follow our artists’ work and the work of the Center.”

Paige wants to return to the Fair next year for a simpler reason, saying: “I’m really happy when my paintings get sold. It melts my heart.”