Through our Artlink program, teams create museum quality artwork and unique retail merchandise

The Artlink mentorship program has been in existence for ten consecutive years, however, 2009 marked the first year that the project was designed specifically as an arts focused Supported Employment initiative in which both partners were compensated for their efforts.

During this year-long program, teams collaborate to explore and share ideas, experiment with and master artistic skills, and develop ongoing projects. Artist mentors also endeavor to teach important business skills necessary for a successful career as a professional artist. Mentors help their Artlink partners create artist statements and resumes, budget for art supplies, and relay the importance of networking and community involvement.

The Artlink Employment program, developed by Creative Clay and funded through a grant from The Able Trust and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, was created to help individuals with disabilities find meaningful employment in arts related positions, or within cultural organizations. Our goal is to place twenty individuals within ten to fifteen different arts organizations each year. The grant will compensate each program recipient/employee a training salary of four-hours-per-week, at minimum wage, for up to six months. All that is required of the corporate partner is to make a good faith effort to provide four hours of work each week to the trainee. Corporations are under no contractual obligation to hire trainees at the end of the grant period. We only ask that the potential for a paid position exist within the organization, and, should the trainee prove qualified for the job, that he or she will be given serious consideration. As the Director of our Supported Employment program, I will make every effort to pair each organization with the best possible candidate. Below I’ve listed some of the other aspects and benefits of the program for your reference.

Job Development Training
A Creative Clay Job Coach will work with you to develop a job description and training plan for your trainee. The Job Coach will then begin training potential employees prior to placing them at your location based on your customized job description.

Supported Employment Services
Creative Clay Job Coaches will assist trainees initially on the job until they have acquired enough understanding and mastery of their job responsibilities to work independently. If, after two months, a trainee has not reasonably mastered the skills necessary for his position, he or she will be offered an alternative placement, and the corporate partner will be given the opportunity to train another employee for the remainder of the grant period.

Ongoing Support
Creative Clay will continue to monitor the stability and progress of the trainee. After the initial two-month phase, Job Coaches will call or visit bi-weekly to monitor progress on the job and offer help however possible to ensure the satisfaction of the trainee and corporate partner. If the business elects to hire the trainee after the six-month period, Creative Clay will continue to consistently monitor the employees placement and offer support for six months beyond the training period. After the six-month period, job coaches may continue to check-in periodically, and will be available for assistance if needed.

Media Exposure
Corporate partners will be included on all media related to the publication of grant materials: special event postcards, brochures, and photo essays. A professional quality publication documenting the results of the grant will be produced as part of the project, and corporate partners will be reflected prominently.

Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities

  • Dependable Employees
    • Studies indicate that people with disabilities are as dependable as typical employees and often have lower turnover rates and greater job stability.
  • Financial Incentives
    • There are a variety of tax credits available to businesses that hire individuals with disabilities, including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and the Welfare to Work Tax Credit (totally over $10,000).
  • On the Job Training
    • Initial training and labor at no expense to the employing company and Job Coaching available when needed.
  • Expanded Market
    • People with disabilities make up at least 20% of the U.S. population. When you employ an individual with a disability, you also raise the awareness of your organization within that individual’s social circle, including family, friends, and extended support networks. Additionally, many individuals will opt to patronize a business that employs people with disabilities over one that does not.

We hope you will join us in our efforts to find meaningful employment for individuals with disabilities. As a community partner, your organization will be collaborating with many other worthwhile businesses in in our community. If you would like more information on becoming a community partner, please email Thank you!

Thank you to our past Artlink Corp Employment program partners:

Toonari Media
Davidson Fine Arts
Artful Living
Bay Area Art Supply
Imagine Charter School
Brenda Knoll Budd Photography
M&M Video Games
Charlie Parker Pottery
John Herrick Woodwork
Great Explorations Children’s Museum
Artworks Retail Shop

Artlink Japan

Artlink Japan is a multicultural exhibit that features an exchange of artwork between St. Petersburg and similar programs in Japan.  “This is a very exciting project for Creative Clay and our entire art community,’ said Grace-Anne Alfiero, Creative Clay Executive Director.  “Our teams of professional and member artists have created insightful works that brilliantly showcase the talents of our community’s artists.  This is a wonderful opportunity for the world to see the great work that we do here at Creative Clay.”

Artlink was conceived by Grace-Anne Alfiero, with the first project in 1999.   Artwork from Japan will be collected by Ms. Alfiero from seven Japanese cities and eight programs that implement the Artlink project.  The cities will be: Osaka, Nara, Fukoaka, Takamatsu, Kyoto, Okyama, and Tokyo. The exhibit will be at the Creative Clay Gallery, 1124 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg from May 15 to June 30, 2009.  Creative Clay’s Artlink project features 10 Artlink teams that will exhibit work alongside artwork collected from the agencies in Japan.