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Reception highlights collaboration of art and opera
Article published on Monday, June 9, 2014
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Photo courtesy CREATIVE CLAY
"West Side Story", a collaborative acrylic painting by Ian W. and Jung In Kang.
ST. PETERSBURG - Creative Clay Inc., and St. Petersburg Opera Company are partnering for the Company’s production of West Side Story. This unique pairing features an opening night exhibit of “West Side Story” themed artwork on June 13 created exclusively by Creative Clay member artists expressly for this production.

The public is invited to Friday's opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at 2145 First Ave. S. Opportunities to meet the artists, enjoy complimentary beverages and see a short performance from a West Side Story cast member will round out the evening, as well as remarks from Creative Clay Executive Director Kim Dohrman and St. Petersburg Opera Company Executive and Artistic Director Mark Sforzini.

Creative Clay studio instructors and guest artists have spent the last two months educating member artists on “West Side Story” characters, themes and music. As a result, compelling images depicting the popular musical have resulted, contributing to a diverse offering of original artwork to compliment the Opera’s production.

“Our artists found inspiration in the music, social issues, love story and dance scenes of West Side Story, and their artwork reflects this spirit. The exhibit will feature vibrant paintings of rival street gangs and star-crossed lovers, surrounded by collaborative fiber and mixed media graffiti walls straight out of mid 1950s New York City,” said Jody Bikoff, Creative Clay Director of Exhibitions and Marketing.

All of the Creative Clay art work created for West Side Story will be available for purchase and will be exhibited at the June 14 Art Walk. Creative Clay artists receive commission on all works sold, furthering the nonprofit’s vision to make the arts accessible to all.

Creative Clay's mission is to provide expressive, educational and vocational opportunities in the arts for people with obstacles to arts access. It serves people with developmental, physical and emotional disabilities, as well as people in healthcare settings, children, veterans, and provide outreach art experiences in the local community. For more information, visit

“We can’t wait to see all the Creative Clay artists’ interpretations of this great American musical. It’s a perfect use of our gallery space,” said Nancy Preis, chief financial officer of St. Petersburg Opera. 

St. Petersburg Opera’s production of West Side Story opens at the Palladium Theater on June 27 for six performances. Starring SPO favorites Gilad Paz and Stefanie Izzo as Tony and Maria, the cast also features Broadway veterans Brett Thiele as Riff and Kaitlyn Costello as Anita.

Tickets are available at 727-823-2040 or

Now in its eighth season, St. Petersburg Opera produces professional, fully-staged operas in the historic, 880-seat Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, as well as other venues in the Tampa Bay area.  SPO brings artistic brilliance, educational initiatives and vitality to the greater Tampa Bay area through the production of top-quality operas of a diversity of style including the traditional masterpieces, light opera, and Broadway opera.
Article published on Monday, June 9, 2014
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