Creative Growth Art Center - May 19 through September 18, 2006

Creative Growth Art Center
The Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, near San Francisco, is a place of artistic expression for people with psychological, neurological, developmental or mental disabilities. Far from any therapeutic motivation, the Californian centre aims at favouring the liberation of creative impulses. It appears like an oasis of freedom from which an intense feeling of energy radiates.

The famous New York neurologist Oliver Sacks, author of The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, has studied very specifically the link between psychological disturbance and artistic expression: Behavioural disorders or diseases may also be seen as creative – "for if they destroy particular paths, particular ways of doing things, they may force the nervous system into making other paths and ways, force on it an unexpected growth and evolution."

The mental disorders suffered by some of the people attending this workshop in California have been found, paradoxically, to favour the blossoming of an unsuspected artistic fecundity. Indifferent or impervious to the suggestions made by workshop organisers, these people have found the stimulation to develop unexploited personal resources in a totally independent manner.

The Collection de l’Art Brut is presenting productions by five artists from the Creative Growth Art Center who are exceptions: Judith Scott, Dwight Mackintosh, Daniel Miller, Lorna Hylton and Donald Mitchell. Their works are a brilliant testament to the "bringing out of latent powers, developments, evolutions" evoked by Oliver Sacks.

The exhibition brings together eighty sculptures, paintings and drawings from the Creative Growth Art Center and the Collection de l’Art Brut, as well as from private collections. The Collection de l’Art Brut would like to express heartfelt thanks to Tom di Maria, the centre’s director, for his collaboration and his generous donations.

A film devoted to Judith Scott, coproduced by the Collection de l’Art Brut, will be shown in the museum on a continuous basis: Les cocons magiques de Judith Scott by Philippe Lespinasse, 36 minutes, Lokomotiv Films, Bordeaux, and Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne, 2005.

Practical Information


May 19 to September 18, 2006
Opening ceremony Thursday May 18, 2006, 18:30


Lucienne Peiry


Lucienne Peiry et Pascal Rebetez, On m’appelait Judith Scott, Lausanne, Collection de l’Art Brut, 2006.

Film / DVD

  • Les cocons magiques de Judith Scott, de Philippe Lespinasse, 36 min., Bordeaux/Lausanne, Lokomotiv Films/Collection de l’Art Brut, 2005.
  • Dwight Mackintosh, de Ron Sheets, 11 min., Lausanne, Collection de l'Art Brut, 2006.


The exhibition Creative Growth Art Center is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.