By KERRY KRISEMAN
Public Relations Manager
This year, Creative Clay celebrates 25 years of making the arts accessible to all through equality through art. We are grateful for those whose generosity has allowed us to grow and serve individuals with neuro-differences. Hal Freedman and Willi Rudowsky are two of our sustaining donors. We appreciate them, and celebrate them with gratitude, as they tell us why supporting the arts is important to them.
🔸 CC: Why do you choose to support Creative Clay as a sustaining sponsor?
H&WF: Creative Clay is arts-related, but as (or more) important is the fact that the population served is often treated inequitably and/or is marginalized. The fact that Creative Clay is a small organization, we feel our support makes a greater impact.
🔸 CC: What do the arts, specifically local art and artists, mean to you?
H&WF: We believe the arts enhance the quality of life for us, and for the community. Having moved here from San Francisco, we have found the local arts and individual artists to be far more accessible. This makes our support more personal.
🔸 CC: Congratulations on your Patron of the Arts MUSE Award this year by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. What are some of the other arts organizations that you support?
H&WF: American Stage, freeFall Theatre Company, Jobsite Theater, Bill Edwards Foundation, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, and most other museums in the area. We also support individual artists to the extent we can find wall space, as well as the Warehouse Arts District, ArtsXchange St Pete, Florida CraftArt, St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund, Creative Pinellas, and Pinellas Community Foundation. Each of us serves on several nonprofit boards: Creative Clay, American Stage, Jobsite Theater, FirstNight St. Pete. In addition, Willi is on the board of St. Petersburg and the World (World Affairs Conference).
🔸 CC: What would you like to tell our community about the importance of supporting and advocating for equality through art?
H&WF: In the case of Creative Clay, art is the medium. We believe that advocating for equality in general, is good for the community. We support other non-arts-related organizations that deal with under-served or marginalized populations, such as CASA St. Petersburg, The Kind Mouse Productions, Inc., Equality Florida, Florida Holocaust Museum. Equality of access to the arts that Creative Clay provides encourages creative thinking and attachment to where you live, which in turn, enriches society in general, and the local community.
Creative Clay’s 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 end 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.
Creative Clay is currently closed due to Covid-19. Please visit www.creativeclay.org to learn about its programs and shop online for original art and art on products. Online donation is also available. Follow on Facebook, on Instagram @creativeclaystpete, on Twitter @creativeclay and on LinkedIn.