Elizabeth Goodwill and Barbara Gerdeman met while teaching at Art Center Sarasota, during which time a wonderful friendship was born, as well as a dream. Having worked well together, genuinely liking each other and sharing many of the same thoughts about the world of art and being an artist, they set out on their own to create what is aptly named Creative Liberties. Their small art gallery and working studios opened in the Fall of 2021 and was built on the foundation of “artists helping artists”. Here’s an inside peek behind the formation of Creative Liberties, what it means to these two women, and what’s to come.

What is Creative Liberties?
BG: Creative Liberties is by artists, for artists. We offer a variety of opportunities to show and sell art that includes artist studio space, online sales, display wall rentals and artist market events. We also provide them with services, a few of which are helping to organize their work, assistance with entering art shows, and how to price their work. We want to help other artists (and ourselves) feel happy, supported and promoted. ALL artists deserve this and that is the heart of our business. To be inclusive and help any artist regardless of medium / age / technique / experience level / race / gender.

EG: Well the name came first.  The hard part was deciding what it would be.  We had so many different ideas for this business from decorative furniture to running a restaurant.  But the main mission of supporting and enriching the artistic community has always been there.  Our whole business model is rooted to this mission and has allowed us to be creative with the way we give back to the community.  We aren’t just an artist studio space or a gallery.  We are a colony of creatives and a safe space for everyone to be their best selves.  Cheesy as that sounds, positive energy is apparent as soon as you step in the door.   

Barbara Gerdeman & Elizabeth Goodwill at Creative Liberties

Why do you create art?
BG: Creating art has been a part of me since I was a child. When I was running my mural & faux painting business I used to tell people that “now I get paid to do what I used to get in trouble for…coloring on the walls”! One of my most recent projects was compiling my souvenirs of art experiences and accomplishments. Who knew that I had six portfolios of my own personal art history? It was satisfying and inspirational and is a continuing “work in progress”! 

EG: “Why?” is my favorite word!  I love to see the bones, structures and base of anything.  Behind the scenes tour? Magician needs a volunteer?  I am usually the first one in line. I am a maker… a visual engineer.  Always have been and always will be.  I am at my best and happiest when I can be creative. 

Why is Creative Liberties important?
BG: What Elizabeth and I did together at the Art Center was not just creating classes and camps but helping other artists…all types of artists. After that experience and having artists continually seek our guidance, we knew a dedicated business based on that was what we wanted to do together. We pride ourselves on our open, inclusive environment. We hope that when people come into the Artist Studios, they feel happy and welcome.

EG: We have created a sanctuary.  This is a creative space.  Literally and figuratively.  I love that I can get feedback on work and also give feedback to my studio mates. This business has kept us grounded, focused, and energized in a time when we needed it.  It turns out that a lot of people were in need of it also and here we are! 

What are your plans for the future?
BG: I think we’ve both agreed that we’d like to be able to have more working artist studio locations. There is such a need for safe, cost-effective and clean artist studios. We’re also hoping to see this Limelight District grow to become a great area for art, food and breweries. And of course, our priority goal – to keep helping artists with services, support, encouragement and to help them sell their work!

EG: Our philosophy is to be receptive to opportunities that come our way.  Our door is always open and we look forward to having you visit.   

Creative Liberties Artist Studios is home to nine working artist studios.  Artwork from over 20 local artists is available to purchase.  Open to the public hours are Wednesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm.  Creative Liberties also hosts Artists Markets once a month through May, Friday open studio events, and is part of the Sarasota Studio Artists Association. 

Don’t miss these upcoming events:

  • March 18, 5:30pm-7:30pm - Creative Liberties Roaring 20’s p”ART”y
  • March 26, 10am-4pm - C.A.T. & D.O.G. Artist Market

 Visit them at www.creativeliberties.net for more info.

901 B Apricot Ave., Sarasota, FL 34237