Hand-in-hand with Japan

ArtSunday, June 17

In 1999, Creative Clay Executive Director Grace Anne Alfiero hatched an innovative idea: Pair professional artists with students with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges for intensive, one-on-one mentorships, and let the creativity rip. Called ARTLINK, the program has since spread to the far reaches of the globe — like Japan, where earlier this year, Alfiero and two other artists visited organizations with ARTLINK programs in Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Okayama, and Tokyo. Beginning this Friday, Florida Craftsmen Gallery showcases works by 11 local ARTLINK teams and their Japanese counterparts, including paintings, sculptures, installations and crafts. A related performance takes place at American Stage today, with three mentor-student pairs set to dazzle the audience along with performers from the theater company's educational programs. ARTLINK Japan 2007, June 15-July 31, Florida Craftsmen Gallery, 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-821-7391; performance Sun., June 17, 7-8:30 p.m., American Stage, 211 Third St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-823-7529.