Creative Clay, the Central St. Petersburg program that brings art to adults with disabilities, is celebrating its Latinx students with an online gallery: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage.
Creators Carla L., Alex Anizpe, Ali Vasquez and Artemisa M. take hold of the spotlight for the entirety of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15).
“This is the first time we are celebrating the month with a collection like this,” said Kerry Kriseman, public relations manager for the program. “We’re very excited, and so are the artists.”
The gallery for Celebrating Hispanic Heritage is unique to the occasion, but Creative Clay is no stranger to using digital “shops” that allow the students to sell their work in a post-pandemic world.
“This is where an artist was born, Caracas, Venezuela,” reads 31-year-old Carla L.‘s painting, titled “Birthplace.”
Carla is more recently from New York, and currently lives in Largo. Her heritage-themed artwork draws inspiration from deep-set memories and family connections.
“When I came here, I was a baby,” Carla said while drawing. “But I’ve been drawing since high school…my junior year an art teacher told me I was doing a good job. That made me feel happy.”
Alex Anizpe, 18, painted his first realistic style acrylic – “Lukas Wilson Portrait” – for the online exhibit. He’s originally from California, and recently learned of his Mexican roots.
“I do feel connected, but I only found out I was connected when I learned my great-great grandfather was a founding father of the Mexican revolution,” Anizpe said. “So I read a little history about him…Having an ancestor like that, it makes me feel like I could do something great like he did.”
Who is Lukas Wilson?
“He’s like the Mona Lisa,” Anizpe said. “I made him up.”
Ali Vasquez, another Californian-born, Florida-grown artist displays her Mayan-style birds in celebration of the ancient history of the Native Americans.
It’s not exactly Hispanic history, but her brightly colored, chunky drawings play homage to Vasquez’s Salvadoran ethnicity.
“I’m into drawing animals,” Vasquez said. “If I didn’t come here, how would I know how to draw all this?”
Much like the transition student-run Friday Art Market, half of the sales for the exhibit go directly to the artists.
Support the collection at creativeclay.org/shop-artwork.