By KERRY KRISEMAN
Public Relations Manager
May marks a quarter of a century that Creative Clay has been providing expressive arts opportunities to people with disabilities.
The St. Petersburg-based non-profit’s 25th anniversary is marked by a pause on programming since March 16 due to necessary COVID-19 mandates.
Despite this temporary closure of its brick and mortar, Creative Clay will continue to provide equality through art with virtual classes thanks to incredible community support. Creative Clay is committed to providing its member artists a nurturing arts community consisting of member artists and professional teaching artists to continue to foster their art careers. “To prepare for our first classes, we practiced connecting in a virtual realm using Zoom,” said CEO Kim Dohrman. “It’s been wonderful. Our member artists shared projects they’ve been working on independently and updated their friends and teachers on what they’ve been up to. The next stage is to begin curriculum-driven classes.”
This virtual program, called Creative Clay Connects, will begin on May 1. Art kits will be delivered to the artists’ homes to ensure all have the tools they need to be successful. The program was first proposed in a needs-based grant through the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay (CFTB). They are providing a 1:3 match for those with donor advised funds at the Foundation.
Board member Hal Freedman and his wife Willi Rudowsky, both long-time Creative Clay supporters, were the first to contribute to the fund. The CFTB matched their gift, increasing the impact of the donation considerably.
The first lessons for the virtual classes will be portraiture. The portraits will be part of a recent commission from the Raymond James marketing department to give as gifts to 170 of their employees. Mike White, Chief Marketing Officer at Raymond James said, “We have been providing our “associates of the quarter” with clay finger puppets commissioned by local artists at Creative Clay for the past year. Our associates love displaying their art not only as a reminder of their recognition but as a symbol of creativity we strive to reflect in our work as well as to celebrate our connection to the community.”
“Through this program and partnership, we are able to create community, provide a sense of purpose and a way for our artists to earn money.
Creative Clay also created an online gallery on its website for customers to purchase art from their computer or smart phone.
“The community has been so supportive of our artists,” said Dohrman. “We’ve sold eight paintings this past month. We couldn’t do it without our partners, friends, supporters and donors in our wonderful city of St. Petersburg and as far away as Japan.”
Virtual galleries are also on Creative Clay’s Facebook Page under “Photos.”
There are several ways to support Creative Clay, as it continues its work to make the arts accessible to all. Donations to Creative Clay for Creative Clay Connects are lovingly accepted. Donors who have funds with Community Foundation of Tampa Bay will have their donation matched for this project.
Individuals are also invited to join the Good Folk Society for as little as $10 a month to help sustain Creative Clay year-round. Always apropos is the purchase of art, which helps Creative Clay by paying the member artists a commission, supporting their careers as working artists.
Learn how you can support Creative Clay and its vision of arts access for all and equality through art at www.creativeclay.org. If you have questions about earmarking donations for Creative Clay Connects or another program, please contact Kim Dohrman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Creative Clay’s core program is its Community Arts Program, which serves over 40 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 teens, Artlink employment program, Creative Care Arts in Wellness outreach program and its Pinellas County Schools partnership Transition program.
Follow Creative Clay on Facebook, on Instagram @creativeclaystpete and on Twitter @creativeclay.