Doesn’t everyone deserve to have their lives enriched by the arts?

Dear Clay Friend,

          Do you remember being a child and spending hours playing outside? Maybe, like me, you loved to spend time with your friends in the sandbox, sculpting magical worlds out of sand and mud. Pebbles became windows, and sticks became bridges.

          As a child, and then later when I was first introduced to clay as a young adult, I remember sometimes being surprised by what I’d created. It was like my hands had a mind of their own, itching to make something that I wasn’t consciously aware of.

          Was I shaping the clay, or was the clay shaping me?

At the time, that thought never crossed my mind. But now, in my role as Executive Director of Clay Art Center (CAC), I’m convinced that clay has the power to shape and mold us.

And that’s really why I’m writing to you today. I’m hoping you’ll join me in the spirit of the holiday season by making a special donation to CAC today. Your gift of $100, $500, or even $1000 today will allow us to continue to transform lives.

Lives like Emily’s.

          I first met Emily when she walked through the doors of CAC 8 years ago, at just 14 years old. Like so many girls that age, she was quiet and unsure of herself. She was uncomfortable in her skin.


          I don’t know about you, but I distinctly remember being that age. It’s the age between childhood and adulthood. Your body is changing. You’re entering high school and are so focused on fitting in. Your emotions are all over the place and you’re vulnerable.

          All of us are 14 years old for such a brief moment in our lives, but it’s a pivotal moment. For young girls like Emily, there are two paths ahead: one goes toward success and happiness, and the other path goes toward a life that isn’t quite so rosy. And we may not believe it at the time, but the decisions we make and the support we receive has a big impact on which path we choose.

          Fortunately for Emily, a scholarship made possible by a donor just like you allowed her to enroll in a pottery class for high school students here at CAC. She very quickly fell in love with working in clay.

In fact, eight years later she’s still here.

          Now 22, Emily is full of confidence. She spends her days studying early childhood education in college, and her afternoons teaching clay to our youngest after school students.


Emily writes,

“When I was young, Clay Art Center was a place where me and my friends could escape the outside world and create a new one. The atmosphere was fun, peaceful and safe. I never wanted to leave!

I wanted to share it with my family, so I got them involved in scholarship classes, too. Having my family work along with clay created a strong bond between us and each of us found an inner artist we never thought we had.

My time at CAC has changed me for the best.”

          Art truly changes lives, and it’s because of you that so many people who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity are able to grow and bond through clay.

          But there are so many more Emily’s out there. With Section 8 housing directly across the street from us, and many low-income households in our region where the cost of food and shelter leaves nothing for programs like the ones at CAC, our community arts programs are more important than ever.

          Won’t you make a donation today to provide at-risk youth like Emily with free access to arts education programming?

          Artistic expression is a basic human instinct. It brings us together through its force of communication and shared experience, two things that are increasingly lacking in our busy world.

At Clay Art Center we are a safe haven for people of all backgrounds and we give them a place to unplug and connect with their creative energy.

In fact, we’re the only visual arts institution in a low-income community that is highly underserved in the arts. Doesn’t everyone deserve to have their lives enriched by the arts?

Together, we can touch the lives of so many vulnerable young people at a critical time in their lives. With their hands busy playing with mud, their futures will begin to take shape and those will be futures like Emily’s, full of confidence and direction.

In fact, just this year, you’ve had incredible impact:

  • YOU made it possible for us to provide at-risk youth with free access to arts programming;

  • YOU made it possible for us to support emerging artists.

  • YOU helped us curate amazing exhibitions and educational programs which inspire everyone in our region; and

  • YOU make it possible for us to put clay into the hands of people with special needs, women fighting cancer, and adult’s living with Alzheimer’s disease.

None of this would be possible without you. Thank you!


Leigh Taylor Mickleson
Executive Director


P.S. Please send your donation today so that we can continue to touch lives and make a difference right here in our region.

Leigh MickelsonComment