BEST NEWS EVER: Emerging Artist of 2023

Blog Post 1 – Agueda Zabisky


On October 17, 2022, I received wonderful news. This news came out in an open review and the grading was via Zoom. I was among the top ten artists selected for the Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist Grant of 2023. I still can’t believe it! I’m so happy!

As part of the Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist Grant, I have to write a blog with a minimum of 15 posts over the six months of the project. In this first post, I’ll share with you who I am and how it all started.

I am someone lost in this world, trying to find myself. Art has always been something that involved me. After having dropped out of a math college, I changed paths and returned to art. I’m a graphic designer and along my way I found ceramics 17 years ago and have never left it. Today, I spend all my time on ceramics. In making sculptures, I forget the world, I find myself, and I am at peace.

I’m from Brazil. I moved to Saint Petersburg during the pandemic, in 2020, with my husband. We chose this city because of its artistic community and its track record supporting artists of all modalities. We came with the idea of spending a semester and ended up staying for good. It has been two years of learning in every way. The biggest challenge has been the language, which I am learning day after day.

Since I make ceramic sculptures, I wanted a studio where I could work full time. I was very lucky to find the Clay Center of Saint Petersburg. We are almost 50 artists sharing that space, exchanging experiences in a very friendly environment. It has been an incredible opportunity to get to know the culture, materials, equipment, different types of clay, techniques and new experiences. I am very grateful to everyone who crossed my path during all this time, because each one, in their own way, helped me in some form. When you are in another country and don’t know the language, a simple smile makes all the difference. I certainly received a lot, much more than I ever imagined. Thank you all!!!

Ever since I first read about the Creative Pinellas Grant, I was really excited because being having the opportunity to be mentored for a semester is really amazing. This became even more evident when I started filling out the application, which is quite complex. There are several questions about the artist, the work, the vision… essentially, a kind of portrayal of the artist. Only when I finished filling in everything did I realize that the process doesn’t start after selection. It starts at application time. I myself had never put all my work on paper so neatly and, in this way, I was able to have another vision of my own work (I will share that in another post).

In addition, the last stage of the selection process is a public evaluation where the six jurors give their grades and comment on their perceptions of the artist’s application. I had never participated in an open poll/review before. I found it interesting to be able to hear opinions about the work of different artists, including mine. I think that the fact that this stage is open provides all participants with: (i) a better understanding of how the process is conducted, with transparency; (ii) the possibility of hearing relevant comments from the judges for improvement; and (iii) a sense of commitment to a high-quality grant process and results.

I have a huge expectation with the mentoring process, and I’m extremely excited about creating an unprecedented project for the final exhibition, which will probably be in May of 2023. Here, my journey begins!

My media is ceramics and if you want to know a little more about my sculptures, please visit my website and follow me on Instagram (@aguedazabisky).


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