Our Ethos

It is our contention that art is comprised of both skill and creativity. Skills can be learned and taught, but creativity refers to the aspect of art making that involves personal imagination and invention.
It has long been recognized that art making is a valuable therapeutic activity, allowing the artists opportunities to heal emotional wounds through self-expression, develop social skills and self-confidence, and build positive work habits. At the very least, negative thoughts and feelings are often suspended during the creative process. But genuine self-esteem seems to involve finding places to “belong” and ways to contribute to others.

When the results of their creative efforts are displayed in dignified art exhibits, and people come from all walks of life to appreciate and purchase their artwork, the social stigmas surrounding circumstances of poverty and mental illness are diminished and the artists are transformed into self-motivated and valued participants in a respected cultural tradition. For some, the ability to see something through to completion is a major breakthrough. For others, a passion is born which results in a clear and powerful sense of purpose and self-worth.

The artists of Coalition Ingenu have been generally precluded from formal training or significant exposure to fine art by circumstances of extreme poverty or mental illness. But the inaccessibility of education forces them to draw upon the more creative method of learning by visualization, experimentation and adjustment. Although they may not be regarded as masters of skill and technique, they deserve recognition, by virtue of their independence from academic training, as masters of the creative process and purveyors of inviolate imagination.