“Tom,” you ask, “where can I buy some cool art to add quirk to my Berkeley home, yard, or workplace?”
“Tom,” you ask, “where can I go to be inspired by the human spirit?”
“Tom,” you ask, “where can I go on funky funky 23rd Street in Richmond?”
NOTE: I had to check. If the quotation of a complete sentence is interrupted in the middle and then continues after the interruption, do not capitalize the second part of the quotation. Use commas to set off the explanatory words. I had it right.
Answer to all three: NIAD (Nurturing Independence through Artistic Development), 551 23rd Street, Richmond. Just four blocks from Andy’s Donut Shop (971 23rd Street), the absolute essence of a quirky donut shop. NIAD is a descendant and relative of Creative Growth in Oakland and Creativity Explored in San Francisco, founded by Florence and Elias Katz 40-ish years ago.
Cool art on and visible from the exterior – a promising venue on Funky funky 23rd Street with the increasingly Mexican cultural vibe.
This was the third Susan Alexander trip in the continuing quirky art education of Tom Dalzell. She met me at NIAD and introduced me to some of the staff:
I had met Arden Fredman. She is the daughter of Quirky Berkeley Superstar Marion Fredman and came with Marion to the 2015 Quirky Berkeley Holiday Party at my house in December 2015. Small Quirky Berkeley World!
The NIAD artists have a diverse collection of developmental disabilities, chronic mental and/or physical impairments. NIAD works to guide them to independence through art. On any given day, there may be 40 working in the NIAD art center; in a week, 60.
There are five mentors who guide the artists on the properties and use of the materials – painting, paper, fiber, ceramics, and print-making. Their mission is not instruction in style, but guidance on the materials.
Fredman provides client services, helping the NIAD artists achieve independence in as much of their lives as possible. She has an artistic background and is a good blend with the services. There are classes in independent living skills. NIAD is all about independence.
Here are some of the artists who were working the day I visited:
And there is Marlen Mullen, who has created at NIAD since 1986, only four years after they moved into the current building.
Marlen Mullen has been shown at at the Jack Fischer gallery in San Francisco and White Columns, New York’s oldest alternative non-profit space that shows up-and-coming artists who are not affiliated with galleries.
And – some of the art in the store, the gallery, and the workshop area:
These baskets are made by Susan White.
NIAD artist Danny Thach paints in a style evocative of Keith Haring. Buckwalter here holds two of Thach’s Haring-esque pieces, the bottom of which is off-script.
On the south side of the building is an open and beautiful garden.
NIAD ceramic art is displayed on decomposed granite and gravel.
Some of the art is available for sale online, and lots more at the gallery and shop at NIAD on 23rd street. The gallery is curated by Tim Buckwalter, a cool artist with a noise band in his personal background, challenging the distinction between musical and non-musical sound. He boasts that the band was “incredibly unpopular.” He is a fellow Son of Pennsylvania, and as a graduate of the Tyler School of Art is a fellow Son of Philadelphia. He knows art. He makes art. He knows the NIAD artists and their art. He is a great guide to all of this.
So – going back to the three questions that started this.
NIAD is a great place to buy cool art to add quirk to your Berkeley home or yard or workplace.
The artists at NIAD inspire. They work quietly and Very Seriously and through art attain independence and surmount challenges. The staff inspires. Buckwalter and Fredman were the two I spent time with. They inspire, greatly.
And – there you are, on Funky funky 23rd Street. My daughter Charlotte and I go for drives several nights a week. One of our favorite drives is 23rd Street. It pulses with life, with Mexican culture.
I have nothing to gain from you going to NIAD. You have everything to gain, though. Go. See it. Quirk up your Berkeley life. Rejoice!
My friend smiled as he flipped through the photos that I used in this post. “I dig this art major league huge big time you can’t believe how much.” What about the post as a whole?