Creative Liberties Has Opened a Second Location in the Limelight District
In a city known for its art culture, there are surprisingly few art studios in Sarasota. Barbara Gerdeman and Elizabeth Goodwill, the founders of Creative Liberties, want to change that.
On Thursday, Feb. 16, Gerdeman and Goodwill will host a grand opening for their second Creative Liberties location on Lime Avenue. The back door of the new location faces Creative Liberties' flagship space on Apricot Avenue, and both locations offer studio spaces that are large enough for everyone from painters working on a variety of canvas sizes to sculptors working on smaller pieces.
“There’s a vision for this to be a supportive, safe environment," says Gerdeman of the studios.
Indeed, the new Creative Liberties space is vibrant and full of artistic verve, with an exhibit in the front, a hallway of studios with artists working or chatting, and a large space in the back where classes can be taught.
"It took me a while to commit because I've always done it on my own," says artist and long-time graphic designer Sandra Wix, who now leases a studio space in the new location. "Being around other artists, the feeling is so positive. I'm learning from others who are more experienced and have been in the field."
Goodwill and Gerdeman met at Art Center Sarasota, where they both worked in arts education. They realized that artists needed support services—such as how to photograph their work, inventory their work, prepare for exhibitions, present on social media and set up their websites among other promotional materials. They intended for Creative Liberties to provide those services.
Then Howard Davis, a former Art Center Sarasota board member, popped into their office and offered Goodwill and Gerdeman the opportunity to rent an available space in a building he and his wife owned. Davis was eager to rent the space to artists but didn’t want to manage it. The first Creative Liberties space opened in November 2021, and it filled up immediately. The second location currently has a waiting list for space.
"We want to make it affordable," says Gerdeman. To that end, the studios offer a reasonably priced month-to-month lease, perfect for artists who are usually looking for something with low commitment. Both locations have wall space to display work, even by artists who don't currently work in the studio. And this work sells. Creative Liberties manages the sale and receives 30 percent, which is a good deal less than the usual 50 percent that galleries normally take.
And for those who are curious about Creative Liberties, its artists and their work, both Creative Liberties spaces are open to the public on Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Goodwill and Gerdeman aren't stopping there: a third location has already emerged on the ground floor Arcos Apartment complex. It's called Creative Liberties at Gaze Gallery, and it will be used for short-term artist residencies, with the hope of giving artists who need a place to create, show their work and get some exposure. One to two artists at a time will stay for 2-3 months and Creative Liberties will host an opening reception for them during their tenure. Artists Lisa DiFranza and Mayer Kersun are currently occupying the space, and a reception for them will take place at Gaze Gallery on Thursday, March 2, from 5-7 p.m.
"We're just getting started," Gerdeman says.
The Grand Opening is from 4-8 p.m. at 927 North Lime. For more information on artist services and applications for studio space or to have your work featured on one of their gallery walls, visit their website: creativeliberties.net