Students from Dr. Sue Blanchard‘s diversity class visited with the center’s artists and their instructors. The group of volunteers learned about Creative Clay activities, what types of art the center’s students enjoy and how the organization gets support.
This field trip came on the heels of a folk festival in St. Petersburg where many of the artists’ paintings were sold. To help Creative Clay, the education students went to work – hanging the new art work, rearranging ceramics and folding shirts.
The class was impressed with the joy of art and love of life expressed by the artists they met. SPC students talked about their experiences volunteering at the center:
“I love how Creative Clay let’s the artists be themselves and not dictate how and what they should create. Through their artwork, students at Creative Clay get in contact with people who encourage them, cherish them, and move them forward… The students are valued and respected; I could sense that the instructors and staff love what they do. They enjoy working with the students, and they are proud of what the students create.”
“This field trip allowed me to open my eyes and not be scared. It really does inspire me and gives me hope that my generation of teachers would be able to change the way that the community views people with disabilities.”
“As I volunteered around the artist, he was more willing to open up to me and talk a little as I passed by. I found this awesome and inspiring because it felt like I wasn’t in my own little world anymore. Where my world is surrounded by men who think I am inferior or women who think I should be more feminine, I joined into a side world where someone who may be viewed as (different) can interact for a short period of time because we have at least just one thing in common. We are seen as being less than we are. In reality, we are all people trying to get by and doing our best to survive with what we’ve been given by whatever powers may exist.”
“As educators, or just people who share the same planet, we should be able to become friends and promote the cohabitation of these special people. They are special in that they are a particular mix of child and adult. Adult enough to get their feelings and emotions out and understood, and childish enough to maintain the innocence that “adults” should have in order to maintain a good quality of life.”
“Each person had their own talent, different than the person sitting next to them. These people ‘can do’ whatever they want (in art), create anything they want.”