Alchemia Art Without Labels
Alchemia nurtures the creative expression of individuals with disabilities as a vehicle for personal growth and accomplishment.
The vision of Alchemia is for a future in which all people with disabilities are valued and contributing members of society.
Alchemia began in the living room of one woman, with one single mission: to create artistic opportunities where none existed. Founded in 1998 by Lorin Kaufman and Julia MacDougal, the program forged a new method of visibility for a group that is so often overlooked: performance. Recognizing a lack of opportunities for adults with disabilities to share their creative passions, Alchemia used performance art to encourage one woman to give voice to her experience. In that living room, with our very first participant, a one-woman show was born. Those who witnessed the process were profoundly touched by her wisdom, her humor, and her courage.
Since those early days, Alchemia has expanded to over 100 clients, with programs ranging from drama, dance, puppetry, media arts, writing, painting, ceramics, and fiber arts to volunteer work, job placements, and mentorships. Our performance artists have sung, danced, and acted before a variety of audiences across California. Our visual artists have exhibited their work in solo and group shows from San Francisco’s De Young Museum to the VisQ gallery in Osaka, Japan. Most importantly, our participants have developed long-lasting, deeply rooted relationships with each other, the community, and their own creative processes.
Statement of Philosophy
Alchemia recognizes that individuals with disabilities have the same basic needs and desires as any other person, and the same human rights.
Our philosophy is that every individual has a voice, and that this collective of unique discourse complements each other in ways that are valuable, powerful, and rooted in the deeper relationships we form with our neighbors. We believe in the beauty of wabi-sabi, the “perfectly imperfect” balance of intuition, grace, originality, and artistry. We believe that each of us is perfect, regardless of the unique challenges we face as individuals.
Alchemia, the Latin word for Alchemy, is the ancient craft of transforming lead into gold. Similarly, our organization uses the expressive arts to find creatively raw material, and transform it into works that enrich the individual and educate the local and global community.
Alchemia is committed to providing a socially and artistically nourishing environment in which participants can develop and sustain strong interpersonal relationships, pursue individual creative goals, and explore their unique dreams.
We are staffed with professional artists, who recognize the need to foster originality, confidence, and capability in each individual student. We are all deeply committed to the development of the artistic skills of our participants in a sustained, gentle, and affirmative way.
• Respect • Creativity
• Compassion • Empowerment
• Inclusion • Dignity
• Integrity • Community