The Outsider Art Fair returns with Creative Growth as guest of honor


Outsider Art Fair (OAF), the only fair dedicated to self-taught artists, is preparing to open its 32nd edition in New York. The event will run from February 29 to March 3, 2024 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan with 63 exhibitors from 32 cities in eight countries.

Since its inception in 1993, the Outsider Art Fair has championed self-taught artists from around the world, and once again, visitors can expect to see works created by the most acclaimed artists in the field. Among them, James Castle, Henry Darger, Thornton Dial, William Edmondson, Minnie Evans, Bill Traylor, Martín Ramírez, Nellie Mae Rowe, Judith Scott and Joseph Yoakum, presented by renowned gallerists such as Nexus Singularity (New York), Cavin-Morris Gallery (New York), Carl Hammer Gallery (Chicago) and Ricco/Maresca Gallery (New York). In 2012, OAF was acquired by Wide Open Arts, a company created by New York gallerist Andrew Edlin. A Parisian edition of the fair was hosted over 10 years, from 2013 to 2022.

For this year’s Curated Spaces, OAF is partnering with long-time ally, the Creative Growth Art Center, to mark the 50th anniversary of this unique creative center whose exhibition program has enabled Outsider artists to show their works in prestigious exhibitions at the MoMA in New York, the Venice Biennale and the Pompidou Center in Paris. The OAF offers a review of the extraordinary history of the Creative Growth Center and the artists who have developed within it.

Adolf Wolfli, Sans titre (MAZURKA-VOLL SCHLÜSS’L ANFANG)

Celebrating 50 years of Creative Growth

The Creative Growth Art Center – one of the world’s oldest and largest independent arts centers for people with disabilities – celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. On this occasion, the Center’s director, Tom di Maria, is presenting a special exhibition at the OAF entitled “Expanding the Canon: 50 years of creative growth”, rich in artworks from the collection of Creative Growth itself, but also from private collections in New York. Since taking over as director of the Creative Growth Art Center in 2000, Tom di Maria has developed partnerships, particularly with museums and galleries, to help fully integrate disabled artists into the contemporary art world. Among the most renowned are William Scott, Monica Valentine, Aurie Ramirez, William Tyler and Judith Scott.

But there’s more: the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) recently established a partnership with Creative Growth before giving more visibility to the Center’s artists. This collaboration includes the acquisition of 113 works by the Center’s artists for the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum. This is a historic partnership (the New York Times devoted a feature article in October 2023 by Michael Janofsky) that aims to develop understanding and acceptance of disabled artists in the Contemporary art world. This museum involvement constitutes a unique act of recognition for the works of artists with intellectual or physical disabilities. Some are autistic, others are deaf or blind, but all communicate better thanks to works produced outside of conventions, guided solely by their creative force. By including disabled artists in the mainstream of Contemporary art, the strong partnership established between SFMOMA and Creative Growth is a further step towards the visibility of artists from minority groups, reflecting a striking shift in American cultural policy over recent years.

Judith Scott, Untitled (Heart) (1993)

The stars of Creative Growth up for auction

Although sought after by private collectors and supported by gallery owners, works by artists from the Creative Growth Center often remain very affordable and rarely go into 5 digits at auction. Moreover, this type of work is difficult to find at auction, especially outside the USA.


Judith SCOTT

Rarity: None presented at auction in 2023

100% of sales in United States (2023)

100% of lots sell for under $10k (2023)

Auction record: $52,500 for Untitled (Heart) (1993), Christie’s, New York, 21 January 2021



Four lots sold during 2023

77.4% of sales in the United States (2023)

50% of lots sell for under $1k (2023)

Auction record: $7,880 for an untitled watercolor (2008), Piasa, Paris, 28/01/2021



Five lots sold during 2023

100% of sales in United States (2023)

40% of lots sell for between $100 – $500 (2023)

Auction record: $6,500 for the large untitled drawing (giant erotic work), Slot’s Folk Art Auction, Atlanta, 11/11/2017



Three lots sold during 2023

100% of sales in United States (2023)

100% of lots sell for under $100 (2023)

Auction record: $1,960 for an untitled felt-tip pen drawing, Tajan, Paris, 10/25/2010


Outsider Art Fair (OAF)

February 29 – March 3, 2024

Metropolitan Pavilion. 125 W 18th Street. NYC

Exhibition “Expanding the Canon: 50 years of creative growth”, curated by Tom di Maria


Christie’s Outsider Art sale

In resonance with the OAF show, on March 1 Christie’s will be hosting a sale entirely dedicated to Outsider art: 127 lots, the vast majority of which will be offered between $1,000 and $10,000. The rare pieces in this sale with six-digit estimates are creations by Winfred Rembert and William Edmondson.

Artwork by Elijah Pierce offered on March 1, 2024 at Christie’s NY