Comstock's magazine 0519 - May 2019 - Page 41

ing a monument to him and those like him. I rescue Joe from the oppressive institutions of the 1960s, the stereotypes of society here today. Through my work, I challenge the cul- tural system that finds it easier to turn their heads — their hearts — away. I urge the viewer to consider the beauty, on a grand level, of that which may appear ugly at first.’” Soldano believes our fascination with this type of art- work not only comes from a recognition of what marginal- ized minds might be going through, but also of a “primal, uninf luenced mindset” that reminds us of our youth, a time “when you didn’t have to please a teacher for fear of pass- ing a course. For me, this art brings me back to a time of no rules, freedom and color without color theory.” Ultimately, experts agree the foundational component of outsider art is a lack of outside inf luence — making art without an eye toward salability, without considering if it will get the creator into a gallery or sold for high prices. Making art for the sake of making art. “Outsider artists aren’t making the work to be pretty or to make sure you’ll buy it,” Neath says. “They’re making it because they have to — because it brings them joy.” where to see OUTSIDER ART These three programs, all part of the Develop- mental Disabilities Service Organization, feature outsider art from clients. The program directors suggest calling to schedule a tour. WHO MAKES OUTSIDER ART? The joy of creating is the crux of the program at SCN, which was created in 1978 under the aegis of the locally based De- velopmental Disabilities Service Organization to give clients access to programs taught by professional working artists. Short Center South, which offers similar programs, was cre- ated in 1993 when the fast-growing Short Center Sacramento was divided into two programs to provide more services to more clients. During its 41 years, SCN’s clients have had their artwork exhibited all over the Central Valley, including at the Crocker Art Museum, the California State Fair, the State Capitol and as part of public mural installations. Beyond Sacramento, client artwork has been shown at the Ames Gallery in Berkeley, the Outsider Art Fair in New York and the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. “I look at art as the great equalizer,” says SCN director Berger. “It’s all-encompassing — all socioeconomic groups, all abilities. If you spend any time at our center with these artists, you get the sense that it’s a real, true, pure form of art they’re doing. These people aren’t getting caught up in the scene, it’s just what comes out — it’s a creativity you don’t see anywhere else.” SCN clients participate in weekday art classes, and im- ages of their work are posted to the center’s Instagram page with the artist’s name and a description of the subject as a way to share their talent with SCN’s broader network. Berger says while outsider artwork was considered fairly niche at first, it’s enjoyed a steady growth in popularity over the years thanks to Short Center North 2331 St. Marks Way #E1 Sacramento (916) 973-1951 Short Center South 5051 47th Ave. Sacramento (916) 737-2397 Alan Short Center 928 E. Rose St. Stockton (209) 462-8208 May 2019 | comstocksmag.com 41