History of Creative Clay

Learn more about Creative Clay's History

Creative Clay, Inc. is a non-profit corporation with an expressed interest in providing the local community of Pinellas County, Florida with a place to experience all aspects of the arts. Creative Clay, Inc. is located at 1846 1st Avenue South in the Grand Central District. Creative Clay began operating its’ first daily arts program on September 1, 1995 and was officially incorporated as a non-profit agency on May 5, 1995 by the Internal Revenue Service.

May 1995

Creative Clay incorporates as a 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Arts Organization with the Internal Revenue Service.

September 1995

Creative Clay opens its doors as the first arts organization in the state of Florida specifically designed to serve persons with disabilities through sophisticated arts education. We begin with one student participant with a $1000 grant from the Knights of Columbus. Continues to present with Medicaid Waiver funding from ADT, Companion, and In-Home category of APD funding.

November 1997

Creative Clay opens its second location in Clearwater, FL.

June 1999

Began with a grant from the City and County Social Action program, secured with FL State Line Item Allocation from 2004-2007. Interim funding provided by the Bank of America Builders Grant. CIBR request filed with State House of Representatives and Florida Senate, lobbying efforts will continue to secure line item funding for 2009 and beyond.

October 1999

Creative Clay wins a sizeable grant From the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council to implement Artlink, 25 professional artists and 25 students work together as pairs to create over 75 works of art exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Florida Craftsmen Gallery in St. Pete, Florida. Show opens June 2000. Artlink has been supported with funding from the Pinellas County Dept. of Cultural Affairs, The Able Trust, Target and Publix Super Market Charities.

April 2001

Creative Clay begins the plan to open third location in Asheville, North Carolina.

April 2001

Artworks program created. Began as ArtBiz with a $30,000 grant from The Able Trust, evolved into first arts related supported employment program in the State of Florida, now also our social entrepreneurial venture & strategy for program sustainability. Secured by Medicaid funding and Vocational Rehabilitation funding from the State of Florida.

January 2002

PBS affiliate, WUSF Channel 16 films the second Artlink project, documentary is produced and airs nationwide to over 1 million viewers with funding from MetLife, The Pinellas County Arts Council and The Able Trust.

January 2003

Member artists from Creative Clay’s daily arts program exhibit for the first time in the Outsider Art Festival in New York City. Two works sell, and several pieces are chosen for a museum exhibit in New York for Spring 2003.

March 2003

Five Creative Clay representatives travel to Japan to teach 25 agencies how to implement the Artlink project in their hometowns.

July 2003-December 2003

Creative Clay receives devastating budget cuts, eventually sells Asheville and Clearwater locations and reorganizes as a community arts program moving to 1124 Central Avenue, St. Pete, Florida.

July 2005

Creative Clay emerges as a survivor in the Medicaid budget cuts, secures over $166,000 in grant money for 2005-2006 grant year, begins to implement Artbiz 2, of which this retail website is a large component.

November 2006

Grace-Anne Alfiero, CEO, was selected as Bank of America’s Neighborhood Hero and was honored with a public award ceremony at the Paladium Theater in St. Petersburg.

November 2007

Creative Clay was named the Neighborhood Builder of the Year and awarded a $200,000 leadership grant from Bank of America.

November 2007

The Able Trust Foundation awards Creative Clay co-founder Grace-Anne Alfiero with the Dr. Spelios Award in Tallahassee.

January 2008

Creative Clay’s Artlink program honored with a LEAD award from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and VSA arts of Florida for our accessible programming.

April 2008

ESE Transition Pilot Program begins. Its success leads to a contract with the Pinellas County School System to provide expressive, educational, and vocational opportunities in the arts to PCS transition students ages 18-22.

September 2008

Creative Clay is awarded a $400,000 grant from the Allegany Franciscan Ministries to seed and implement the Creative Care program. Partners included All Children’s Hospital, St. Anthony’s Hospital, The Ronald McDonald House, Suncoast Hospice and Benedict Haven Group Home.

June 2009

First annual Inclusionary Summer Arts Camp, Art Around the World  and Summer Studio are implemented. Over 50 children participate in an inclusive environment for the eight-week camp. Start up grant from Queen’s Court, Rays Foundation & Rotary Club of St. Pete. Funding continues with funding from the White Family Foundation, The Pinellas Community Foundation, Publix Charities, and The Rotary of St. Petersburg.

June 2010

Creative Clay is named the top non-profit arts agency of the year from the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

July 2010

Creative Clay is awarded an Able Trust grant and a Bank of America grant to extend and continue serving individuals with disabilities through the arts and arts related employment options for 2010-2011.

August 2010

After years of research and planning, Creative Clay participates in the New York International Gift Fair in New York City with the Artworks line of retail merchandise including t-shirts, greeting cards, jewelry and scarves. The products are well received and staff members are interviewed by reporters from The New York Post and Carribean Life.  The feel good gifts created by artists who attend our programs are a hit with museum gift stores and companies interested in socially responsive products!

June 2011

Co-founder Grace-Anne Alfiero resigns to begin her consulting business Arts In Action. Director of Arts Education, Kim Dohrman is appointed as Interim Executive Director.

August 2011

Creative Clay is awarded the Better Communities Include Everyone 2011 Award, Presented by Volunteer Florida in recognition of exemplary efforts to include persons with disabilities in community volunteering.

December 2011

Interim Executive Director, Kim Dohrman, is named Creative Clay’s Executive Director.

January 2012

Creative Care’s Art for All Kids program at All Children’s Hospital is awarded funding through the National Endowment for the Arts. Full-time, 40 hr/wk program set to begin in February 2012.

August 2012

Creative Clay receives expanded contract from the Pinellas County School Board to provide vocational arts training to students with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 22.

November 2012

Creative Clay opens satellite arts studio at Value Fair Market at 3951 34th Street South St. Petersburg, FL 33711. The studio is named The Mary Andrews Studio, after long-time volunteer and advocate, Mary Andrews.

December 2012

Creative Clay wins the 2012 Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts (TBBCA) Impact Award. Creative Clay Transition student artist Asani Nolan wins The Able Trust state-wide holiday art contest with his beautiful “Lighted Palm Trees.”

March 2013

Creative Clay signs St. Anthony’s Hospital contract to provide healing arts experiences.

May 2013

The Mahaffey Theater partners with Creative Clay to produce exhibits within the Mahaffey gallery featuring Creative Clay artists.

July 2013

Creative Clay’s Mary Andrews Studio is forced to close with the owner’s sale of the building. Member artists work temporarily at the Gulfport City of Imagination studio.

August 2013

Creative Clay moves to new and improved facility at 1114 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.

September 2013

Artlink Japan continues in its 13th year featuring art exchange with sister-city, Takamatsu.

November 2013

The Clay Center of St. Petersburg partners with Creative Clay to provide a satellite studio space for member artists.

January 2014

Creative Clay is awarded the NEA grant for the Creative Care program at All Children’s Hospital.

June 2014

Longtime Creative Clay employee, Mary Andrews, is inducted into the St. Petersburg Senior Hall of fame and receives keys to the City of St. Petersburg from Mayor Rick Kriseman.

July 2014

Creative Clay partners with The Museum of Fine Art to place artwork in their gift shop.

January 2015

Creative Clay is awarded the NEA grant for the Creative Care program at All Children’s Hospital.

May 2015

Creative Clay celebrates Six Years of Mail Art, a collaborative art project between PCCA-Gibbs’ seniors and Creative Clay member Artists.