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Creative Identity Changes Lives

Working on a new ceramic design

By Cynthia Smith, 2012-03-13
Creative Identity is a non-profit Day Program for adults with developmental disabilities that provides specialized training in the expressive arts, music performance, and pre-vocational skills.

Our clients, who are faced with challenges such as mild to severe intellectual disability, blindness, Down syndrome, seizure disorder, cerebral palsy, and Autism, have unique musical and artistic abilities and talents that need to be fostered and developed through the dedicated and specialized training of our staff.

Quality of Life

Fine detail on silk

Creative Identity’s Mission is to promote the improvement of the quality of life and societal perceptions of adults with developmental disabilities by providing enriching therapeutic and educational interventions that cultivate their personal and social responsibility, independence, and creative potentials through participation in music and the expressive arts, and by the presentation of their talents through community concerts and art exhibitions.

In addition to serving the needs of our current clients, our goal is to reach other individuals with musical and artistic gifts who might otherwise be isolated in a restrictive environment that does not allow for the growth of these individuals, and to provide for the development of their gifts and for an outlet to express them creatively and productively.

Varied programs
Orange County has over 60 day programs serving the varied needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. Among these 60 programs, only three focus on using the arts to meet the needs of their clients, One of those three programs has a musical performance group that performs in the community. Another program has periodic art exhibitions of their clients’ art work.
However, what makes Creative Identity’s program unique and stand out from all others in Orange County is that in addition to having both a music performance component and an expressive arts and art exhibition component, we also have a pre-vocational component that provides intrinsic motivation and monetary incentives for the clients’ produced artworks.

Community services
Our pre-vocational expressive arts component is called “Art Works,” and through this medium our clients create artworks such as decorative ceramic ware, paintings, and painted silk items. These artworks are offered for sale to the general public through local craft fairs, our fundraising events, and through client concert performances in the community, and when a client’s artwork is sold, that client receives a commission.

At a recent Arts Crawl in Center Street Promenade

Our client musicians and singers also engage in community service by performing for patients in nursing homes, veterans at the Long Beach Veterans Administration, and for other clients institutionalized at the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa (among other venues as well).


Ceramics class while musicains rehearse

Our program not only enhances motor skills, social skills, problem solving skills and creative thinking, but also provides our clients with a sense of pride and connectedness with the community at large. Additionally, they develop a sense of responsibility and independence through their earnings of commissions and participation in the arts. Importantly, Creative Identity fosters the changing of negative and stereotypical societal perceptions with regard to what these individuals can accomplish and how they contribute to society.

A client works on his painting

New violin ensemble
Most recently, Creative Identity has added a new violin string ensemble program for our clients which provides for instruction on violin and cello, as well as performance opportunities within the community. This innovative client string ensemble will be performing for the Very Special Arts presentation at the Main Place Mall in Santa Ana on April 21, 2012. Additionally, the string ensemble along with other performance groups will be part of our Summer Concert on June 23rd at 6 pm at Creative Identity. At this concert, there will also be a client art exhibition and boutique of client made ceramics, paintings, and painted silk items for sale to the public as part of our pre-vocational component “Art Works.” The facility is located in the Fellowship Hall of St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, at 2580 W. Orange Ave., in Anaheim.

Seeking Volunteers
Creative Identity is also seeking part-time or full-time volunteers to assist our clients in the areas of music, expressive arts, ceramics, gardening, computer skills, and life skills such as reading and writing.

Creative Identity operates Monday through Friday between 9 am and 3 pm, and tours of the program can be arranged by contacting the executive director George Gilliam, or the program director Dr. Cynthia Smith at (714)527-2508.

A finished painting among the easels.



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