George Gilliam - Executive Director
George J. Gilliam is the founder and Executive Director of Creative Identity and serves as the musical director of The Pride, a small vocal ensemble composed of musically gifted clients from Creative Identity. George, a versatile jazz guitarist who has performed with Chaka Khan and Wynton Marsalis, received his bachelor’s degree in music from Xavier University in New Orleans. In 1992, he earned a degree in music therapy from California State University, Long Beach. He has served adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the capacity of music therapist at the Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, Huntington School in Long Beach, and the Betty Clooney Center for the Brain Injured in Long Beach. George was the Director of Hope University in Anaheim, the first creative-arts therapy facility solely dedicated to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He founded Creative Identity in 1996 with one client, and now the program currently serves 36 clients. George was honored by the Regional Center of Orange County with the Excellence in Supportive Services Award in 2012, honoring the outstanding achievements and extraordinary service of people dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Orange County.
Dr. Cynthia Smith -Program Director
Cynthia Smith serves as the Program Director at Creative Identity. Smith is an internationally renowned fretted dulcimer recording artist, singer, songwriter, shell inlay artist, and arranger of traditional British Isles music. Furthermore, she is a much sought after clinician, performing and teaching the fretted dulcimer at the Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, The Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina, The Winterfest of Acoustic Music in Irvine, Texas, The Northeast Dulcimer Symposium at Blue Mountain Lake in New York, and in 1984 she performed at the Cultural Arts series at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. In 1994 she co-founded the Southern California Dulcimer Heritage, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the fretted and hammered dulcimer. That same year she co-founded The Harvest Festival of Dulcimers in Southern California and served as the artistic director for twelve years. Her recordings with Ruth Barrett include: “The Early Years: Aeolus/Music of the Rolling World,” “Deepening,””A Dulcimer Harvest,” and “The Heart is the Only Nation.” In 1999, Smith received a Bachelors degree in Music Therapy from Chapman University. She completed her doctoral degree in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2011. She is currently working on the release of her sixth recording on her independent label Aeolus Music.
Board of Directors