It’s the seemingly innocuous question we all ask when meeting someone new: “What do you do?” At grant recipient Creative Clay, the teen and adult students have developmental disabilities.
Creative Clay offers a variety of arts programs for adults and children with disabilities, veterans and those in health care settings, according to Executive Director Kim Dohrman. Local artists work with and sometimes volunteer as teachers for individuals with cognitive, physical or emotional challenges.
The soulful work they produce can rival folk art pieces collected by art lovers everywhere. Along with artistic techniques and the skills needed to be an artist, students learn to frame, price and sell their work in the Creative Clay gallery.
“Our whole vision is to make the arts accessible to all,” says Dohrman. “We survive thanks to individual community donors and wonderful foundations like the Pinellas Community Foundation.”
State funding for Creative Clay programs continues to shrink. Yet Dohrman says the cost of art supplies continues to grow, and community support is vital. PCF provides support for those operating expenses from unrestricted funds contributed by a variety of our caring donors.
Dohrman says it’s about more than dollars. “PCF staff really do connect person-to-person with our organization. They actually want to get to know us and what we’re doing. I feel like the people at Pinellas Community Foundation really care.”
“A lot of my artwork is Mayan and Aztec designs,” said a smiling 25-year-old Ali. “I had my own solo exhibition and sold a painting and two decorated guitars.”
“It took me forever to do this work with my own hand, my own time, my own patience,” 20-year-old Tanisha beamed as she showed off her Minion-themed snowman statue. “And I get to sell my art. It makes me feel like I’m a rich lady!”