By KERRY KRISEMAN
Public Relations Manager
If the idea of walking into a mall, navigating crowded stores and eager shoppers any day after Thanksgiving makes you shudder, it might be time to incorporate new shopping alternatives into your holiday shopping plan.
Giving the gift of art is timeless. It’s personal, and it can be suited to the recipients’ tastes and inspirations. And, a gift that gives back is one of the most fulfilling presents to give and receive. Purchasing original, handmade folk art by Creative Clay member artists is an exercise in contributing to social equity.
Creative Clay’s Good Folk Gallery exhibits the latest art created by member artists, who are individuals with neuro-differences who attend Creative Clay’s Community Arts Program. Original folk art, or outsider art, is available on canvas or wood, in a variety of sizes and themes. A vast selection of ceramic pieces, as well as jewelry, mugs, plates and decorative items are also available.
Our artists not only attend classes taught by professional teaching artists, where they learn techniques, receive empowerment and are guided in how to market their work through job training and role play, but they also receive a 50% commission on each work sold. This allows them to earn a wage from their sales and hard work. They see that they’re part of the artist community at large, and that their contributions to the creative community are valued.
Shoppers who don’t find something that inspires in our Good Folk Gallery may also peruse the collection of work in our artists’ bins. Our curator and exhibitions director Jody Bikoff is available to assist with selection, if needed, based on color preference, space accommodations and style of décor.
While the art in our Good Folk Gallery can vary from $30 to $300, those who might be shopping on a budget shouldn’t be deterred. Our Creative Thrift pay-what-you-can art supply store offers donated items such as art history books, instructional books, paint, brushes, frames, canvases, art kits, fabric, beads, etc. Shoppers pay what they feel is fair and what they can afford. All proceeds from Creative Thrift benefit our programs. Learn more about what’s available at Creative Thrift by liking and following our Creative Thrift Facebook page, and visiting our Web site at www.creativeclay.org.
In addition to shopping Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., holiday shopping opportunities are also available at the Transition Holiday Market Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and during ArtWalk Dec. 8, 5-9 p.m. Each our Pinellas County Schools’ Transition student curate, create and exhibit holiday-themed artwork to sell. This supports the goal of Transition, which is a partnership with Pinellas County Schools, that provides vocational arts training for 18–22 year-olds with learning, developmental and/or emotional disabilities.
The program focuses on easing the transition from the school environment to post-secondary education that includes the goals of independent living and employment readiness. Creative Clay Transition’s vocational training consists of lessons in art fundamentals, sales, marketing, customer relations, and the over-all business of being an artist.
Each year, Creative Clay’s Transition student artists greet the holiday season with enthusiasm as they work to create the art that they’ll sell at market.
“I enjoy making the glass Christmas ornaments, selling my artwork and making money,” said Transition student artist Tyler G. “I also love talking with shoppers, asking how can I help’”
For Dalmary, a new Transition student artist, the idea of participating in the holiday market is exciting and provides inspiration as the pathway to achieving goals she has set for herself.
“I’m learning how to sell art, and I love art,” said Dalmary. “Someday, I’d like to have my own art store.”
Join us this holiday season for shopping with a socially conscious purpose. You’ll have the opportunity to purchase unique gifts of original art and contribute to making the arts accessible for all.
Creative Clay’s vision is to make the arts accessible to all. Its mission is to help people with disabilities achieve full and inclusive lives through access to the arts by providing expressive, educational and vocational experiences. Like and follow our Creative Clay and Creative Thrift pages on Facebook, @creativeclaystpete on Instagram and @creativeclay on Twitter.