Having spent little time in the Mission District while living in San Francisco, I decided that our next visit would be to that area of town. It’s a large area, with lots to see and do, and one day wouldn’t make a dent in all the possibilities, but we were on a mission to see as much of the Mission District as possible.
There are two BART stops in the Mission, 24th and 16th. We got off at 16th, into a cacophony of sights and sounds. The Mission District is busy and the languages you are most likely to hear are of a Spanish variety. There are, of course, the mutterings and rumblings of the disenfranchised, the drunks, the homeless, the mentally disturbed. It’s all to be seen around the BART station.
As we walked along 16th, I noticed a storefront’s windows filled with beautiful drawings, much like what you might expect children to do. The pieces, though, were very large, framed, and well displayed. This is Creativity Explored, a place for developmentally disabled artists to come, work, exhibit, and sell their pieces. There is a small gallery right inside the door, but even more intriguing is the workrooms beyond. They are full of artists, doing so many things, working on so many pieces, in all kinds of media. And what natural born sales people. They will gladly give you a tour of the workroom, which is huge, showing off their own pieces as well as that of others.
One young lady that we met, Selene Perez, was intent on showing us a particular work of hers. She took us to the back of the studio, where there was a huge file of drawings and paintings. She painstakingly went through the massive numbers of work until she found her piece that she wanted us to see:
I was so charmed by the artist, and her work, that I knew I wanted to purchase this piece. There was another piece that intrigued me, too. The artist is Maribel Guzman.
However, I did not have enough cash on me to make the purchases. The front desk assured me they would take credit cards, and so I made another trip through the studio rooms, picking up these two pieces. I stopped at Selene’s work table and told her I was taking her picture. She was so pleased, dancing around, giving me a hug, and telling her friend at the next table. The artists get a portion of the sales price.
Should you find yourself in San Francisco, take BART to the 16th Street station, walk west on 16th. Creativity Explored is on the south side of the street, before you get to Dolores, where the mission itself stands.