For instance: Creative Growth Art Center, which was started in Oakland, California, over 40 years ago by Florence and Elias Katz in response to then-governor Ronald Reagan’s decision to close state-run psychiatric hospitals. (Its facilities now provide activities in drawing, painting, ceramics, textiles, wood, printmaking, and video production.) In the 1980s, the Katz couple founded an additional studio, Creativity Explored, in San Francisco.
Around 1974, in Australia, Myra Hilgendorf started an exhibition platform, Arts Project Australia, to support the work of her daughter (an artist with a disability); 10 years later, it evolved into a studio workshop program. In 1986 Yamanami Welfare Workshop opened in Shiga, Japan; initially offering drawing and clay modelling, amongs other activities, they later developed into Atelier Yamanami, which is still going strong.
In more recent years, this studio movement has blossomed—there’s Atelier Incurve in Osaka, Japan (2002); Project Onward of Chicago (2004); and LAND Studio & Gallery, in Brooklyn (2005), all of which operate more like artist-in-residency programs than art therapy sessions. Studio coordinators and visiting artists are facilitators allowing artists to develop their practice in a non-directive, non-didactic environment.
Active non-profits, these studios have various channels of funding: Atelier Incurve is primarily funded by the Japanese government, while Creative Growth is funded in part by a membership program for support from individuals; Project Onward is the recipient of a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts grant.