By Kerry Kriseman
Public Relations Manager
Creative Clay’s Community Arts Program began in 1995 with one member artist. Since then, the mid-sized nonprofit headquartered in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg has taught and empowered hundreds of people with disabilities who create art and sell their works in its Good Folk Gallery and online in its virtual gallery. Creative Clay artists also exhibit their art throughout the Tampa Bay area, and sell their art on products through platforms, such as Redbubble.
Member Artist Sienna M. joined Creative Clay in 2012 after graduating from high school. She enjoys fabric art, such as embroidery. Sienna also employs the use of bright, bold colors in everything she creates.
When artwork is sold, member artists earn a 50% commission. Sometimes, an artist’s work is selected for Creative Clay’s Arts in Offices leasing program or to travel to other community arts partners for exhibition.
“I like to sell my artwork,” Sienna said.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic forced Creative Clay to offer only online art classes through its Creative Clay Connects program, Sienna enjoyed visiting local galleries, museums and other local cultural venues. Integration into the community reinforces to member artists that they are part of the arts and are contributing members, whether through selling their art or volunteering at museums such as the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts or Daystar Life Center.
As their careers evolve, most artists find their niche. Sienna is no different.
“I like to make turtles out of clay and paint them,” she said. “I like to paint cats and dogs on canvas. I like pink and purple best.”
Recently, a new piece by Sienna was chosen as an “art on products” image for the Redbubble platform. Many of Creative Clay’s member artists’ work is featured on products, such as apparel, pillows, home décor, office accessories, mugs, etc. Sienna’s newest work, “Two Upside Down Cats,” is the newest image featured on Redbubble.
Sienna is proud to expand her art offerings on a broader scale, but what also makes her happy is the community she has at Creative Clay.
“I like seeing all my teachers and other artist friends,” she said. “They make me laugh. They are family to me.”
But Sienna also values the partnerships and relationships she has at Creative Clay, which she hopes will help her achieve her goals.
“I would like to make more art that people would buy from me,” she said. “My friends at Creative Clay can help me make more art and sell it.”
Shop for Sienna’s art on products at: https://www.redbubble.com/shop/ap/85871253?asc=u. Original art by Creative Clay artists is also available for purchase through the online gallery at www.creativeclay.org.
Creative Clay’s vision is to make the arts accessible to all. Our mission is to help people with disabilities achieve full and inclusive lives through access to the arts by providing expressive, educational, and vocational experiences.
Creative Clay’s core program is its Community Arts Program, which serves 50-60 adult artists with neuro-differences each week. Through the implementation of additional offerings, such as the inclusive Art Around the World summer camp, Summer Studio for older teens and young adults, Artlink employment program, Creative Care Arts in Wellness outreach program, and its Pinellas County Schools’ partnership Transition program, individuals of all ages and abilities are mentored, taught and empowered to become working artists who actively create, market and sell their work. The result is that a formerly stigmatized population, through the art it creates and sells, demystifies stereotypes surrounding those with disabilities and creates a culture of acceptance throughout the community.
Learn more about Creative Clay at www.creativeclay.org. Follow on Facebook, on Instagram @creativeclaystpete, on Twitter @creativeclay, and on LinkedIn.