Art + Culture

Q+A: DM Wilding of Creatively Wild Art Studio

At Creatively Wild Art Studio (33 Washington), founder Donna-Maree Wilding and her staff use channel their passion and experience to help students find their inner creativity and produce powerful works of art. This winter, DUMBO BID intern Alex Uvarov sat down with Donna-Maree to chat about art, inspiration and, of course, DUMBO.

When did you decide you want to teach art to kids?

That started at art school; I worked with a lot of friends’ children – in particular with children who were frustrated in their creativity.

What inspired you to start Creatively Wild Art and how did it first start?

Creatively Wild first started when I was in my final years of art school. I was working with children who where frustrated little artists and it evolved out of that. I then started it in London, France and Italy, and now New York. So its been going now over 20 years.

What education experience do you have in the arts, and how has that helped you to establish Creatively Wild Art?

I have a Fine Arts Degree, but I went to a very avant-garde art school in New Zealand. My professors were amazing and really encouraged you to think outside the box. When I went to art school, I pushed the boundaries of art and created very conceptual but experimental pieces – this is what Creatively Wild is about: tapping into that creativity.

Are you considering opening Creatively Wild Art in another area?

I have friends in Europe who would like me to start there, in London and Singapore. I would also really like to create an art house. Its a build in that has a cafe for the community. There is a gallery and a performance space, and a safe place where people get to express themselves. I want the whole family involved. That is why we do all these free events in the community, like the DUMBO Arts Festiva land Halloween Party in the Archway). We want kids and their parents to create together.

What key element led to the success of Creatively Wild Art?

Definitely creating that safe place where each of the students can be themselves, where they can actually tap into their own art. Also giving them the tools and materials and encouragement to be themselves. I always tell my kids, “Who wants to be normal? Normal is so boring! Just be yourself, you’re perfect just the way you are.” Its all about love.

What is the most satisfying part of your work?

My most satisfying part is when I see a little creative soul walk in and you can tell that they are the typical misunderstood artist. They have all these things going on in their head and they just don’t know what to do with it. Just to see them actually come alive and create some of these things they are seeing. Also to realize that they are not alone, and there are a whole bunch of other kids just like them that have that creative spirit. Its great because they start to relax and feel safe. They start to put out there ideas and start to create those ideas while having fun.

Why did you choose to open your business in DUMBO and why did you open it here?

I love DUMBO because it has a sense of community that is missing from New York. You walk down the street and everyone is like, “Hey how’s it going!” It’s family. I’m from New Zealand, I’ve lived in France, London, Italy, but I love DUMBO. When I get of that subway, I feel like I’m home.